Diplomatic Bluebook 2020

Chapter 2

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

3 Southern Africa

(1) Angola

Since the inauguration of President Lourenço (2017), the Government of Angola has been promoting economic reforms, including actively exposing corruption by individuals connected to the former dos Santos administration, fiscal and financial reforms including the introduction of a VAT, a reform of the exchange rate system, and improvements to the investment environment. Angola is also working on diversifying the economy to depart from an economic structure that relies on natural resources.

In August, President Lourenço participated in TICAD7 for the first time as Angola's incumbent President, and demonstrated Angola's stance of attaching importance to the relationship with Japan by having a large number of accompanying ministers attend the meeting with Prime Minister Abe. In October, a technical cooperation agreement was signed, which is expected to further contribute to the social and economic development of Angola.

(2) Eswatini

Eswatini remains an absolute monarchy, with King Mswati III having overwhelming power in administration and legislation. The parliament remains an advisory body, and the royal family occupies important positions within the government. On April 19, 2018, it was announced that the country's name would be changed from the “Kingdom of Swaziland” to the “Kingdom of Eswatini,” and the change came into force that same day. Eswatini has become the only country in Africa to have diplomatic relations with Taiwan after Burkina Faso severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2018.

In August, Prime Minister Dlamini visited Japan to participate in TICAD7, and in October, King Mswati III visited Japan for the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor. Both of them had a meeting with Prime Minister Abe during their visits. In addition, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Suzuki made a courtesy call to King Mswati III during the Sixth Replenishment Conference of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held in Lyon (France).

(3) Zimbabwe

Former President Mugabe, who had been in power since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 until 2017, passed away in September 2019. While there has been little progress on reforms after the administration change, natural disasters such as droughts and hurricanes have caused great damages, leaving concern about the impacts on Zimbabwe's economy and on people's lives.

Taking every opportunity for the exchange of high-ranking officials, Japan has been continuously emphasizing directly to government officials, including the president, about the importance of promoting democracy and economic development in Zimbabwe, and Japan expects that President Mnangagwa and his administration will promote democracy and steadily implement economic reforms. In August, many ministers from Zimbabwe, including President Mnangagwa and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Moyo, visited Japan to participate in TICAD7, and held a summit meeting and a foreign ministers' meeting.

(4) Namibia

Namibia has abundant marine and mineral resources, and, as a distribution hub on the Atlantic side of the Southern Africa region, it is expected that trade and investment will expand in the fields of resource development and energy. March 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of Namibia's independence.

In August, President Geingob visited Japan to participate in TICAD7 and met with Prime Minister Abe In November, the Namibian team participated as the African representative in the Rugby World Cup 2019, which was held in Japan for the first time and deepened grass root exchanges through sports.

(5) Malawi

Malawi is a landlocked country in Southern Africa that has maintained relatively stable domestic affairs since its independence in 1964, but the domestic situation remains fluid due in part to frequent demonstrations organized by human rights groups since the May 2019 presidential election. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has dispatched a total of more than 1,800 Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers to Malawi, the most in the world, and Malawi has deep grassroots exchanges with Japan, such as implementing the One Village One Product movement, which is the first in Africa, to cultivate specialty products for each region.

In August, Vice President Chimulirenji visited Japan to attend TICAD7 and had a meeting with Prime Minister Abe.

(6) South Africa

South Africa is the only African country that is a G20 member. It continues to garner attention from foreign companies including Japanese companies as a major economic power in Africa and as a base from which to carry out business expansion. South Africa has, for the third time, been serving as a member of the UN Security Council since 2019, and has a strong presence in the international arena.

In May, the incumbent President Ramaphosa was reelected in a general election, and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, Mr. Seki Yoshihiro (State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry) attended President Ramaphosa's inauguration ceremony in May, reconfirming to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and South Africa, focusing on trade and investment.

President Ramaphosa visited Japan in June and August to attend the G20 Osaka Summit and TICAD7 respectively, and had meetings with Prime Minister Abe. At the G20 Osaka Summit, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Pandor had a meeting with Foreign Minister Kono, witnessing the good progress of the bilateral relations. In November, President Ramaphosa visited Japan to watch the finals of the Rugby World Cup 2019 in which South Africa achieved its third victory, and 2019 resulted in a great year for bilateral exchanges in sports.

(7) Mozambique

Mozambique is rich in natural resources especially in the Nacala Corridor region, and Japanese companies have shown great interest in Mozambique, including one that announced their participation in Mozambique's natural gas development projects in 2019.

In August, former President Chissano and Minister of Economy and Finance Maleiane visited Japan to participate in TICAD7 and met with Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono. In addition, President of the Assembly of the Republic Macamo visited Japan in October for the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor, and there were also active inter-parliamentary exchanges, such as meeting with the presidents of Japan's House of Representatives and Councilors. In October, the incumbent President Nyusi was reelected in the presidential election, and the ruling party won an absolute majority. In January 2020, Special Envoy of the Prime Minister, Mr. Mihara Asahiko (Member of the House of Representatives) attended President Nyusi's inauguration ceremony.

(8) Lesotho

Lesotho is a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, composed mostly of mountainous highlands, and continues to grow economically through mining and water resources development. In addition, trout aquaculture is carried out in the lake of the Katse Dam constructed by utilizing natural resources, providing a major export product to Japan.

In August, Prime Minister Thabane visited Japan to participate in TICAD7 and had a meeting with Prime Minister Abe. In addition, in October, King Letsie III and Queen Masenate visited Japan for the Ceremony of the Enthronement of His Majesty the Emperor and King Letsie III had a meeting with Prime Minister Abe.