Diplomatic Bluebook 2017

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 countries with diversity, and attracts the interest of the international community, owing to its rich natural resources and high market potential. This is one of the reasons why the influence of Sub-Saharan African countries on consensus-building in the international community is growing.

On the other hand, long-standing challenges remain to be solved in Sub-Saharan Africa, such as political unrest, severe disparities and poverty, while other challenges have emerged in recent years, such as the vulnerability of the health systems and the rise of violent extremism. Furthermore, their economic growth has slowed down compared to the previous years, due to the deceleration of emerging economies and the decline of global commodity prices. Since these issues have influence beyond national borders, it is vital that Sub-Saharan African countries overcome these difficulties and achieve stable growth, in order to promote peace and stability not only of Africa but also of the entire international community including Japan.

The Japan-led Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) was held in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2016. African countries and the international community together worked on the issues with the following: (1) promoting economic diversification and industrialization, (2) promoting resilient health systems, and (3) promoting social stability. Prime Minister Abe announced Japan's initiatives at TICAD VI taking into account these priority areas, and he proposed a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” (see feature column “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy”), which aims at promoting stability and prosperity for the whole region by improving the connectivity between Asia and Africa through a free and open Indo-Pacific. Prime Minister Abe also announced Japan's basic policy towards Africa to provide support for nation-building in the area of development as well as politics and governance, in a way that respects the ownership of African countries, without forcing on or intervening in them.

Japan has implemented initiatives to strengthen relations with Africa in various fields based on the initiatives announced at TICAD. In the field of peace and stability, Japan continued to provide assistance including capacity building through the deployment of personnel for peacekeeping operations (PKO) in South Sudan, support for PKO training centers in African countries and support for training courses for PKO personnel hosted by the UN.

In order to promote initiatives by the public and private sectors in a unified manner on economic issues towards TICAD VI, TICAD VI Public-Private Roundtable Meetings were held four times during the period between October 2015 and July 2016. In addition, the Public and Private Sector Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment in Africa, headed by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kihara was dispatched to Côte d'Ivoire in March 2016. Furthermore, at the Ministerial Meeting on Economic Strategy for Africa established under the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, the government investigated specific policies such as the start of comprehensively integrated development in three major regions of the West African “Growth Ring,” “the East African Northern Corridor” and the “Nacala Corridor.”

Continued efforts were made to strengthen cooperation with the African Union (AU) and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Furthermore, collaboration in relation to policies towards Africa with countries such as the U.S., the UK, France and India were strengthened, through TICAD VI as well as the bilateral policy dialogues on Africa.