Diplomatic Bluebook 2022

Chapter 2

Japan's Foreign Policy by Region

Section 8 Africa

1 Overview

Africa, with a population of over 1.3 billion in 54 countries, has attracted the interest of the international community, owing to its high potential and rich natural resources. At the same time, Africa still faces challenges such as conflicts, political turmoil, and terrorism that threaten peace and stability, and serious poverty and development issues. Overcoming these challenges in Africa is also important for the peace and prosperity of the international community as a whole.

Leading into 2021, COVID-19 continues to have tremendous impacts on Africa's economy and society. The third wave of COVID-19 has arrived in Africa, and the cumulative number of infected people has risen to more than nine million (as of December 2021). However, as vaccine development progresses around the world, improving the vaccination rate has become an important issue while the rate in Africa as a whole is only 11% (as of December 2021). Under these circumstances, in Japan announced in April assistance to 25 countries in Africa to build a vaccination system with cold chain equipment and enhance vaccination capabilities, as “Last One Mile Support.” In addition, Prime Minister Kishida announced at the Tokyo Nutrition Summit 2021 held in December that Japan would provide vaccines to Africa.

2021 was also a year of significant political instability in multiple parts of Africa. In Mali, provisional government leaders were detained by a group of army soldiers, while in Guinea, the president was detained. In Ethiopia, armed clashes between the government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) occurred, and in Sudan, the army detained the prime minister and other officials and dissolved the cabinet.

As part of its efforts to address challenges in the areas of peace and stability, Japan provided emergency grant aid of 3.179 billion Japanese yen to seven African countries facing humanitarian crises in March 2021 to address political instability and the enormous economic and social impacts of COVID-19. This initiative is aimed at preventing regional instability by providing food assistance to countries facing humanitarian crises, including food crises, due to sluggish economic activity caused by COVID-19. Furthermore, under the New Approach for Peace and Stability in Africa (NAPSA) advocated at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7), Japan is working to provide assistance for stabilizing regions affected by conflict and terrorism, as well as institution building, strengthening governance, and preventing the radicalization of youth.

In 2021, people-to-people exchanges took place at various levels between Japan and Africa even in the situation where official travel was restricted by the impact of COVID-19.

In January, Foreign Minister Motegi visited Kenya and Senegal to reaffirm the friendship between Japan and Africa that has developed over many years.

In addition, ministerial-level officials from 27 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng de Mabior of South Sudan, visited Japan on the occasion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 (Tokyo 2020 Games) held in the summer. The exchanges through the Olympic host town were an opportunity to encourage exchange between Africa and Japanese towns.

Japan has been contributing to African development for many years through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which has a history of over a quarter of a century, based on the basic principles of African ownership and partnership with the international community. The Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) is scheduled to be held in Tunisia in 2022. While COVID-19 has brought to light various development issues in Africa, Japan will strongly support African-led development through TICAD 8 and set out a pathway of African development looking ahead to the post-COVID-19 era. (See the Column on page 178)