7. Sub-Saharan Africa
In recent years, Africa has been realizing relatively high economic growth, compared with the industrialized countries, and many conflicts have been concluded. The independence of South Sudan, as Africa’s 54th state, on July 9 which followed the result of the referendum, gave a strong impression of the further progress of peace and democratization in Africa. On the other hand, conflicts continue in such regions as Somalia, and many Africans are still suffering from drought, poverty and infectious diseases.
Under such circumstances, Africa is becoming increasingly important for Japan’s diplomacy from the perspectives that (1)it is Japan’s duty as a responsible member of the international community to earnestly work toward the resolution of the various problems facing Africa, and by doing so Japan will earn trust of the international community (2)it is also important for Japan’s economy to strengthen the economic relationship with Africa, a potentially huge market sustains high rates of economic growth which is endowed with abundant natural resources and a growing population, and (3)the cooperation of African countries is essential to further address global issues such as UN Security Council Reform and climate change.
While valuing its solidarity with Africa, which was reaffirmed in the aftermath of Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan continued to actively advance its policy on Africa in 2011, focusing mainly on (1)contributions to peace and stability, (2)development assistance and promotion of trade and investment, and (3)response to global issues.
For peace and stability in Africa, Japan advanced various cooperation measures for the consolidation of peace in the conflict regions which include such as Sudan and Somalia. Japan decided to dispatch units of the Japan Self-Defense Forces to the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), a UN peacekeeping operation (PKO) to support the nation building efforts of this newly independent country. Japan also provided election support and dispatched election observation teams to support the democratization process in such countries as Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Liberia. Furthermore, Japan continued to provide support for PKO training centers in Africa, to enhance the peacekeeping capability of African countries.
In the area of development assistance, trade and investment, Foreign Minister Matsumoto attended the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Ministerial Follow-up Meeting in Senegal in May, in the aftermath of Great East Japan Earthquake, as the co-chair of the meeting. In this meeting, Japan reiterated its unequivocal determination to faithfully implement the pledges made at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in 2008: which include (1)doubling Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) to Africa by 2012 and (2)supporting doubling private-sector investments. In addition, in the UN General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Noda announced the plan to hold the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in 2013 in Japan. Japan is seeking to promote business in Africa as it strengthens public-private partnership, through such means as dispatching, the Public-Private Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment to Africa to Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya in October.