Diplomatic Bluebook 2001
Chapter III. REGIONAL DEVELOPMENTS
In the political arena, peaceful and democratic elections were held in March in Senegal and in December in Ghana, with powers changing between the ruling and opposition parties. These elections demonstrated that democracy, which swept Sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s, has in some cases taken a firm hold. In Somalia, where people have been plagued for many years by civil war and anarchy, a transitional President was elected in August. However, in Côte d'Ivoire, where a provisional military government had controlled the country since the military coup in December 1999, riots broke out again over the October presidential elections, and a politically unstable situation has continued. Also, in Zimbabwe, tension between the ruling and opposition parties has increased over land reforms. Thus, it is still a major issue for Africa to establish political stability (refer to Chapter I, C-4 on efforts to address African conflicts).
On the economic front, many countries are engaged in structural adjustment reforms, particularly in introduction of market economy principles and fiscal entrenchment, in cooperation with the IMF and the World Bank. Over the medium term up until 2003, more than half of the African countries are expected to boost their annual average GDP growth rates above five percent. On the contrary, economic foundations remain weak, with numerous countries affected by market trends of primary products such as cocoa and coffee and also with little progress in terms of the fosterage of internationally competitive industries. In the 1990s, the per capita GDP among African countries dropped below the 1970s level, and no significant improvement has been made to the lives of the quarter of Africa's population which exists on less than US$1 a day. The coffers of many African countries are also being drained by their cumulative foreign debt payments, while the African debt problem is also weighing heavily upon the international community with 32 of the 41 countries designated by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) located in Africa.
Another urgent issue in Africa is the prevention of epidemics of malaria and other infectious diseases. In particular, containing a tenth of the world's population, Africa holds 70 percent of the world's AIDS sufferers. This situation is seriously affecting the entire socioeconomy and is a concern for all humanity, as it lowers average life span, reduces household income, swiftly raises the number of orphans, increases the number of children out of schools, reduces productivity, and increases the fiscal burden.
Japan has actively assisted the efforts of African countries in order to encourage African development and the political stability on which the development of the region depends.
In the area of development assistance, Japan has been particularly active, working with other donor countries, international organizations, and the African countries toward the steady implementation of the Tokyo Agenda for Action, which was adopted at the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II) held in Tokyo in October 1998. Japan has also been providing support in the area of basic human needs, including education, health, and hygiene. In terms of HIV/AIDS in particular, Japan announced the Okinawa Infectious Diseases Initiative on the occasion of the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit, and in specific regard to Africa, the African Seminar on Health Development was held in November on the theme of South-South cooperation regarding HIV/AIDS.
Prime Minister Mori spoke with the leaders of three African countries on occasions such as the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit and the UN Millennium Assembly, while Minister for Foreign Affairs K no spoke with counterparts of six African countries at the G8 Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Miyazaki, for example.
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