Diplomatic Bluebook 2016

Chapter 2

Japan’s Foreign Policy that Takes a Panoramic Perspective of the World Map

Section 7 Sub-Saharan Africa


Sub-Saharan Africa encompasses a population of about 1 billion in 49 diverse countries, and attracts attention of the international community, owing to its abundant natural resources and high market potential. The influence of Sub-Saharan African countries on consensus building in the international community is growing.

On the other hand, lingering challenges remain to be solved in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as political unrest and severe disparities and poverty, while there have emerged new challenges in recent years, such as the outbreak of Ebola virus disease and violent extremism. Furthermore, their economic growth has slowed down due to the deceleration of emerging economies and the fall in commodity prices.

For the peace and prosperity of Africa as well as the entire international community including Japan, it is vital for Sub-Saharan African countries to overcome these difficulties and achieve stable growth.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), an international forum launched by Japan in 1993, serves as an important pillar of Japan’s diplomacy toward Africa. TICAD has generated steady progress through a wide range of discussion of Africa’s development inter alia in Summit meetings and Ministerial follow up meetings. The 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) to be held in Kenya in August 2016 will be the first TICAD in Africa.

In 2015, cooperation toward TICAD VI was further enhanced among various actors including governments, businesses and civil societies, with the holding of Ministerial Meeting on Economic Strategy for Africa and TICAD VI Public-Private Roundtable Meeting.

Japan has steadily implemented the assistance package for Africa announced at TICAD V in 2013. For instance, in the field of peace and stability, Japan has been carrying out capacity building through the support for peacekeeping (PKO) training centers in African countries and UN sponsored training courses for PKO personnel. Japan has also been implementing PKO activities in South Sudan and anti-piracy activities off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.

In order to further strengthen bilateral relations with African countries, the Government of Japan actively holds bilateral meetings during high-level visits and bilateral meeting at the margin of international conferences. In September, Prime Minister Abe hosted the 3rd Japan-African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Summit Roundtable in New York, the U.S. The leaders confirmed that they would enhance cooperation at the regional level in Africa. Cooperation with the African Union (AU) has also deepened.

With regard to regional issues, such as the outbreak of Ebola virus disease and Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group, Japan responded in close coordination with partner countries, such as the G7.