Section 7. Africa
1. The Region in General
1-1. Progress toward Democracy and Economic Structural Adjustments
Affected by the moves toward democracy in the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War, a number of African countries are proceeding with democratization in a shift from a single-party dictatorship to a multi-party system and the transition from military to civilian regime. Between 1991 and 1992, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Africa, which were tangible evidence of the progress toward democracy. In 1992 alone, presidential elections were held in 10 countries: Mauritania, Mali, Gambia, Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Ghana and Kenya. In addition, parliamentary elections were held in 11 countries, including Mali and Cameroon in the same year. Many of these countries experienced general elections for the first time, and there were some disruptions such as the postponement of voting dates due to delayed preparations. On balance, though, most elections went smoothly with support from the industrialized countries, including Japan, such as the provision of election equipment and materials, and the dispatch of election observers (Note). Africa has also seen economic changes. Since the 1980s, structural adjustment programs led by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been introduced in 34 out of the 46 African countries south of the Sahara to help them overcome economic difficulties. These adjustment programs have achieved some success in improving economic efficiencies. Yet, in some countries, whose living standards have deteriorated after the introduction of the adjustment policies, the outcome is less fertile than was initially expected.
1-2. Moves toward Regional Cooperation in Africa
In Africa, the Organization of African Unity (OAU: established in 1963, with 50 member countries) has been playing an important role in conducting joint actions by the member countries. In recent years, the OAU has placed emphasis on political aspects of regional cooperation, particularly on settling regional conflicts. It has also demonstrated its initiative in the social and humanitarian areas, as was seen in the hosting of the International Conference for Assistance to African Children in November 1992. The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) is more than a regional economic cooperation organization. It is making political efforts to settle conflicts by way of dispatching troops of its own to the areas of conflicts. Moves toward regional monetary integration have also become active, as were seen in the West African Monetary Union (UMOA). In order to promote closer regional cooperation, the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) developed into a regional economic community called the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in August 1992.
1-3. Japan's Policy toward Africa
Africa is historically and geographically a remote area to Japan. However, in view of humanitarian concern and its responsibilities as a leading member of the international community, Japan is providing economic cooperation centering on grant aid and technical cooperation. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa in 1991 increased by 14.9 percent over the previous year to $909.77 million.
In recent years, African countries have been requesting not only conventional-type development assistance, but also various forms of assistance for democratization and economic reforms.
The interest and economic assistance of the international community tend to be directed toward the countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Under these circumstances, Japan plans to host the Tokyo Conference on African Development in October 1993 with the participation of representatives of African countries, major donor countries and international organizations in order to heighten the interest of the international community toward Africa, and thereby to support the favorable political and economic changes taking place in the continent.
2. Countries in the Region
2-1. South Africa
After the fundamental laws which had comprised apartheid (racial segregation policy) were repealed in 1991, moves for the complete abolition of apartheid, including negotiations for a new constitution, have been proceeding. Despite some difficulties remaining, South Africa is at a historical turning point to construct a truly democratic country. Japan highly values the reform efforts in South Africa and is steadily normalizing its relations with the country to encourage further reforms. However, serious setbacks have occurred since June 1992, such as the sharp increase in the number of victims of violence and the interruption of negotiations among political parties. Hoping that a democratic South Africa will be realized, Japan bas been appealing to the parties concerned to reach an early settlement of the violence problems and resume a peaceful negotiation process with the participation of all those concerned.
Nigeria has the largest population (about 100 million) on the African continent and enormous influence over the neighboring countries. It has peacefully implemented local, state and federal parliamentary elections since 1985 to accomplish the transition to civilian rule. The presidential election, however, was put off because electoral fraud had been found in the primaries of the election in September 1992. And, the transition to civilian rule, which was originally scheduled for January 1993, has been postponed to August 1993. Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa south of the Sahara and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), continues to suffer from the massive accumulation of external debts and protracted stagnation in its economy.
With growing calls for democratization in Kenya in 1991, the industrialized countries, including Japan, requested strenuously that the Government of Kenya make political and economic reforms at the Paris Consultative Group meeting in November 1991. Taking into consideration the positions of the donor countries, the Government of Kenya decided to introduce a multi-party system in December 1991. In December 1992, democratic elections were held under this system. As a result, President Daniel arap Moi was re-elected over other opposition candidates. The ruling Kenya-African National Union (KANU) also won the parliamentary election.
In Zaire, a major power in Central Africa, public frustration over economic difficulties had increased in recent years. In September 1991, a large-scale riot broke out in the capital, Kinshasa, triggered by the non-payment of salaries to soldiers. It led to the evacuation of the majority of foreign residents from Zaire, including the staff of the Japanese Embassy. In January 1992, President Mobutu Sese Seko announced the indefinite postponement of the National Council. However, the National Council was resumed in April, and Mr. Tshisekedi, the leader of the opposition, was appointed Prime Minister of the interim government at the National Council in August. The present political situation appears to be in a lull, but the new government and the presidential side continue to be in conflict, with the controversy over the Presidential authority, and the political outlook remains unclear. Furthermore, as the Government of Zaire has not settled the discord with the World Bank since the summer of 1990, the government is not in a position to attract assistance from major industrialized countries. Its early economic recovery is not expected soon.
Since the collapse of President Mohamed Siad Barre's regime in January 1991, the country fell into anarchy where many clan groups prevailed. In addition to the large number of refugees and tens of thousands of dead and wounded people caused by civil strifes, intensifying damage of drought has led Somalia to a tragic situation where more than 1 million people are still on the brink of starvation. In March 1992, after the intermediation of the United Nations, a cease-fire agreement was reached in the capital, Mogadishu. In April, a resolution was approved by the U.N. Security Council on the establishment of the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) charged with supervising the cease-fire agreement and ensuring safe provision of humanitarian assistance. However, only the deployment of 50 cease-fire observers and 500 guards in Mogadishu were realized. While another resolution was approved to send additional 3,000 guards, there was no prospect of their deployment without the approval of all the parties concerned in Somalia.
Under these circumstances, recognizing that the distribution of relief aid is tremendously hindered due to lack of safety, the U.N. Security Council, adopted a resolution, in December 1992, to give authority to relevant countries to take action under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, based on the recommendation of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Based upon this resolution, the Unified Task Force, mainly consisting of the U.S. Armed Forces, landed in Mogadishu in the same month, and subsequently into the central and southern parts of Somalia. The presence of the United Task Force significantly improved security in this region. Japan is actively cooperating, as is shown by its contribution of a total of $100 million to the Somali Trust Fund established by the U.N. Security Council resolution. Japan is also calling on other countries for contributions. In addition, Japan contributed a total of $27 million of humanitarian assistance to Somalia in 1992 alone.
In 1989 internal strife occurred in Liberia as a result of deteriorating economic conditions and tribal confrontations. The strife forced the majority of foreign residents and nearly half of Liberia's own citizens to flee from the country in 1990, and Liberia has been divided by armed factions. In spite of intermediation efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a de jure government has not yet been established. In October 1992, combat between the peace-keeping forces sent by ECOWAS and one of the warring factions resumed. Although this intensified the tension temporarily, full-scale combat subsided in a short period of time, bringing a lull to the country.
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Note : The election in Angola was held in September 1992 under the surveillance of the second U.N. Angola Verification of Election Mission (UNAVEM II), to which Japan sent three election observers.