Section 8. Africa


1. Internal and External Situation


(1) Overview

Over the past 30 years since their independence, many African countries, suffered from domestic political instability, regional disputes, agriculture vulnerable to the climate, and feeble economies relying on primary products exports. Indeed, their plight has been the most serious difficult of all developing countries. Some bright spots were detected in 1988 such as a bumper crop as well as moves for a solution to long-lasting regional disputes and the positive results of structural adjustment efforts. But structural and other intractable problems including racial and ethnic disputes and obstacles to economic development await a solution.


(2) Economic Situation and Structural Adjustment Efforts

African nations' economic situation is the severest of all developing countries. Africa's per capita GDP continued to fall at an average annual pace of 3.1% from 1980 to 1986 while the average for all the developing countries grew 1.8%. And 28 of the 42 least less-developed countries (LLDC) are found in Africa. It is believed that the improvement of agricultural production and structural adjustments are essential to overcoming the predicaments.

Farm crops were generally favorable in western Africa and elsewhere in 1988 due to abundant rainfalls. But structural food shortages persisted due to the growing population, inadequate transportation and storage facilities, and vulnerability to extraordinary climatic changes.

Meanwhile, heavy rains and high temperatures caused the worst plague of locusts in 30 years. The damage to crops by the insects reported first in the western and northern parts of the continent, spread to the eastern part. The rains also led to flood disasters, exposing African agriculture's vulnerability to natural conditions.

Such economic difficulties as slackening primary product prices, low economic growth and foreign currency shortages persisted. African countries' outstanding official external debts totaled $103.9 billion at the end of 1987. The ratio of the debt to GNP was as high as 80.7% against an average of 38.5% for all the developing countries. The external debt burden is considerably heavy, given their small economic sizes.

Under the circumstances, most of the African countries are making efforts to implement structural adjustment programs, in cooperation with the World Bank and IMF to stimulate the private sector to play a more active role in the economy and achieve an external and internal financial equilibrium. The efforts include deregulation as well as improvement in the flexibility of price and trade policies and in the efficiency of fiscal spending. These structural adjustment efforts have been supported by the international community in the form of various adjustment loans and debt-relief measures accorded by donor countries and institutions, namely in the framework of the World Bank's Special Program of Assistance for Low-Income Debit-Distressed Countries in Sub Sahara Africa (SPA).

The World Bank noted structural adjustment efforts have been successful as indicated by the fact that adjustment-implementing countries' annual growth rates rose from 1% for the 1980-85 period to nearly 4% for the 1986-87 period. Countries failing to make such efforts managed to score only negligible growth. But as structural adjustments have some aspects which bring about difficulties in the life of the people, especially the poor, that cause discontent. Donros will have to take political and social costs into account in supporting structural adjustments.


(3) Relative Stability of Domestic Politics and Future Problems

The political situation in African countries has been relatively stable. No coup has erupted in the region since the coup in Burkina Faso in October 1987, although some coup attempts have been disclosed. Positive moves have grown in Nigeria and Ghana during the transition from military rule to civilian government. But serious problems persist, threatening political stability. A solution to these problems is significant to the future of Africa.

Tribal and racial problems have their major origins in the European powers' artificial division of African territories during the colonial period. Tribal and racial disputes one of which caused a civil war in Biafra in the past have remained serious and posed a threat to stability in Africa.

In Burundi, where long-dated antagonism persists between the minority Tutsi tribe and the majority Hutu, it is reported that massive mutual killings between the two tribes occurred in rural regions in August 1988 and many refugees flowed into neighboring Rwanda.

An incident between the Senegalese and Mauritanian peoples in April and May 1989 developed into attacks on Senegalese in Mauritania and Mauritanians in Senegal. A great number of expatriates returned to their respective countries.

The causes of this dispute lie not only in a traditional antagonism between the Moorish nomads and black farmers but also in living environment changes brought on by development projects.

People's growing displeasure with stagnant economy aggravated the turmoil in Senegal and Mauritania, and led to student demonstrations and riots in Nigeria in May 1989. Coup attempts were reported in some African countries.


(4) Developments in Regional Situation

Although no significant progress was made toward solution of the South African problem, the biggest political issue in Africa, moves toward peaceful settlement of regional conflicts involving Angola, Namibia, the Horn of Africa, Chad and others made headway.

(a) South African Problem

In 1988, President Pieter W. Botha imposed strict restrictions on about 30 anti-apartheid organizations in an attempt to demonstrate to conservative whites his National Party's determination to maintain security and order and thereby enlist their support. He tried to take advantage of such action to restore the support for his party through white parliamentary by-elections in March 1988 and municipal elections in October. But he failed to curb the advancing trend of the Conservatives. The government led by the National Party also tried to promote domestic reforms, but none of the reform proposals gained any support of non-white racial groups. Therefore, no reform plans were put into effect during 1988.

President Botha was hospitalized briefly in January 1989 due to a stroke, generating moves within the ruling party to look for his successor. In March, Minister of National Education Frederik W. de Klerk, was nominated as the president of the National Party. President Botha, in an address to the parliament in April, stated that he would retire upon the expiration of his tenure in September. Therefore, de Klerk was duly expected to be the next president.

At its 43rd session in December 1988 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a series of resolutions on South Africa including those urging sanctions against South Africa under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter. In one of the resolutions Japan was named as a country which dramatically increased trade with South Africa. (This seems attributable to the fact that Japan became the world's largest trading partner for South Africa in terms of dollars in 1987.)

(b) Angola and Namibia Problem

South Africa, Angola and Cuba entered into peace negotiations in Angola under the mediation of the United States and cooperation by the Soviet Union in May 1988, which was partly due to the relaxation of U.S.-Soviet tension and a stalemate on the battle front in the Angolan civil war, led to growing expectations of peaceful negotiations as a result of a series of negotiations. They finally concluded a tripartite peace agreement on December 22.

Under the agreement, Cuban troops are to complete their withdrawal by July 1991. Namibia, which has been illegally administered by South Africa, is scheduled to gain independence in April 1990.

In response to the peace agreement, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in January 1989 to implement UNSC Resolution 435, which stipulates the process of independence for Namibia.

Under the resolution, the personnel of the U.N. Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) for Namibia entered Namibian territory in stages on and after April 1 to monitor a cease-fire and maintain order. Namibian refugees who had fled to Angola, Zambia and other countries have begun since mid-June to return home. Campaigns were to start in July for the election of a constitutional assembly, which is scheduled for November.

A civil war between the Angolan government and the anti-government UNITA. (Uniano Nacional para a Independencia Total de Angola) continued even after the conclusion of the December 22 peace agreement. Zaire, Congo, Gabon and other African countries launched efforts to mediate the conciliation of the Angolan government and UNITA. After such efforts, Marshal Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire held an African summit in Gbadlite, Zaire, June 22, where Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos met for the first time UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi, and agreed on a cease-fire which was put into force June 24.

The Angolan government and UNITA reportedly remain wide apart over terms for their reconciliation. Negotiations will continue at a special committee for the national conciliation, which was set up at the African summit.

(c) The Horn of Africa (Eastern Tip of African Continent)

Anti-government guerrillas launched in the first half of 1988 a military offensive in northern Ethiopia in an attempt to win the secession and independence of the Tigre and Eritrea provinces from the central government. Government forces encountered unexpected difficulties as Mekele, the capital of Eritrea Province, fell to attacks by the guerrillas. Subsequently, May 1989 there was an attempted coup by some discontented military officers. In June, the government proposed unconditional peace negotiations to the guerrillas. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), one of the major guerrilla groups accepted the proposal and announced its readiness to enter into the proposed negotiations. This development is worthy of attention.


Schedules for Withdrawal of Cuban Troops from Angola and for Independence of Namibia


There were signs of improvement concerning Ethiopia's relations with neighboring Somalia and Sudan. Ethiopia and Somalia, which have been in dispute with each other since the Ogaden conflict, resumed diplomatic relations in April 1988. Ethiopia is also making efforts to normalize ties with Sudan.


(d) Chad Conflict

Chad and Libya have gradually improved their relations after concluding a cease-fire agreement in September 1987. Although they resumed diplomatic relations in October 1988, their territorial claims to the Aouzou region, a source of dispute between the two countries, has not been solved yet.


2. Relations with Japan


(1) Overview

Africa, which accounts for nearly one-third of the total number of the United Nations member countries, has a great say at the international arena and plays a great role also in the world economy because of its rich mineral resources. But their economic base being still weak, African countries require international assistance most acutely of all developing countries. The situation is compounded by regional disputes and other destabilizing factors.

Japan has sharply expanded economic and technical assistance to Africa based on the philosophy giving support to the economic and social development of Africa is the responsibility of the entire international community. Japan is also considering playing a more active role in the solution of the southern African and other political problems. Japan has been striving to promote mutual understanding with African nations through personnel and cultural exchange in order to establish firmer economic and political relations between Japan and Africa.


(2) Economic and Technical Cooperation

Japan has strengthened its assistance to African countries in recent years to help them overcome economic difficulties including structural food shortages and a heavy external debt burden. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa increased about sevenfold during the past 10 years, boosting its share in Japan's total bilateral ODA from 8.40% to 14.7%

Japan recently, has given priority to aid for African countries' structural adjustment efforts. In view of African countries' growing economic difficulties such as increased external debt service and deficits in international balance of payments, Japan has embarked on a program to extend about $500 million in non-project type grant aid to African countries over three years from 1987 to 1989 in support of their structural adjustment efforts. By the end of fiscal 1988, Japan extended grants totaling \35.6 billion (about $300 million) to 19 countries under the program.

Attaching importance to the World Bank's Special Program of Assistance for Africa and syndicated loans involving international institutions to African countries in support of the structural adjustments, Japan increased loans to Africa from \9.1 billion in fiscal 1987 to \68,914 million in fiscal 1988.

The number of African countries eligible to receive debt-relief measures has increased from 6 to 15 as such measures for least less-developed countries have been expanded.

Japan swiftly responded when Africa was stricken by disasters in 1988, including frequent floods and the locust plague attributed to heavy rains. Japan contributed \1 billion grant aid through the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for measures to counter the locust plague. It also extended aid through the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Program (WFP) to alleviate sufferings of refugees who flowed into Rwanda and other African countries as well as of the returnees.


(3) Economic Relations

Japan's trade with African countries in 1988 leveled off from the previous year. Exports rose only 1.6% and imports rose 1.8%. The government sent an economic mission to African countries in October1988 for the first time in four years to promote Japan-Africa trade and investments. The team visited Zimbabwe, Cameroon and Nigeria.


(4) Response to Problems in Southern Africa

(a) South Africa Problem

Japan has been steadfastly opposed to South Africa's apartheid and has imposed various sanctions against the country. Since early 1988, the government is requesting the business community to exercise prudence in trade with South Africa. As a result, Japan's trade with South Africa declined in 1988 from the previous year in both yen and dollar terms.

The Japanese government began in fiscal 1987 to make contributions to medical, educational and other projects to aid South African blacks victimized by apartheid. It has also stepped up economic assistance to countries neighboring South Africa.

(b) Angola and Namibia Issue

Japan has volunteered a $13.55 million contribution as a start-up fund of the UNTAG for Namibia and in due course will provide an additional $46 million as an assessed contribution by Japan. Japan will send 30 observers to an election in November 1989 of the Namibian parliament to establish the constitution. In emergency aid to Namibian refugees, Japan has also provided the U.N. Childrens' Fund (UNICEF) with \144 million and the UNHCR with \326 million.

As for Angola's national reconciliation, Japan has welcomed a cease-fire agreement concluded on June 22 owing to the African leaders' peace initiative as well as to the efforts of parties to the Angolan civil war. In emergency assistance to Angolan refugees, Japan has contributed \104 million through the UNHCR and \35 million through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


(5) Promotion of Mutual Understanding

The image of Africa on Japanese people has largely been one of its adverse aspects like famine and frequent occurrence of natural disasters. They have had few contacts with rich African cultures. In this respect, the Japanese government is making efforts to expand personnel and cultural exchange with Africa and enrich mutual understanding in order to deepen bilateral relations.

(a) Personnel Exchange

Japan is promoting invitation projects for African people in a bid to expand personnel exchange at all levels ranging from government leaders to young people.

High-level visitors from Africa included Mozambique President Joa-quim Alberto Chissano in May 1988 and Togo President Gen. Gnassingbe Eyadema in April 1989, and Senegalese President Abdou Diouf as state guest in June 1988.

In exchange, Parliamentary Vice Foreign Minister Takujiro Hamada made official visits to Uganda and Madagascar in June 1988.

(b) Cultural Exchange

The Foreign Ministry cooperated with local governments and non-governmental organizations in deepening the Japanese people's understanding of Africa and promoting local communities' internationalization.

(i) Introduction of African Cultures

Senegalese and Ghana musicians and Nigerian designers were invited in August 1988 to introduce African music and fashion in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Nagoya and Osaka.

The ministry also invited artists of traditional music from Tanzania, Madagascar and Ethiopia to hold concerts in Tokyo, Nagano, Ishikawa and Fukui in March 1989.

In June 1989, an opening ceremony was held in the presence of Crown Prince Naruhito for the Africa Culture Campaign '89 featuring a number of events from August to November introducing various aspects of African culture through films, music, arts, fashion etc.

(ii) Tree-Planting Tours

The Foreign Ministry supported the organization of Tree-Planting tours which aims at increasing public attention to the desertification problems participation grass-roots Japanese groups in the tree-planting activities in African countries. In fiscal 1988, citizens from Hokkaido, Nagoya and Osaka visited respectively Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal for that purpose. The ministry is planning similar African tours for fiscal 1989 as well.

(iii) Intellectual Exchange - African Development Seminars

The Ministry invited development experts from Africa in March 1989 to exchange views with Japanese specialists at seminars in Tokyo and Nagoya on food supply problems and structural adjustment policies.


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