Diplomatic Bluebook 2022

Chapter 2

Japan's Foreign Policy by Region

3 Southern Africa

(1) Angola

The structure of Angola's economy is dependent on oil industry. Combined with the decline in oil prices caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the country has recorded negative growth for five consecutive years since 2016 (-5.2% in 2020 (IMF)), making economic diversification and stabilization an urgent task. Angola is actively working to strengthen relations with its development partners and opened the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Angola in Nagoya in May.

(2) Eswatini

In Eswatini, King Mswati III has outstanding power in administration and legislation, and maintains the only absolute monarchy in Africa. In April 2018, the country changed its name from the “Kingdom of Swaziland” to the “Kingdom of Eswatini.” It is the only country in Africa that has diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In May 2021, Japan celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and sent a congratulatory message from Japan during an online commemorative event.

(3) Zambia

Zambia which has abundant mineral resources has been working on economic diversification in recent years to shift its economy away from over-dependence on minerals. In the presidential election held in August, President Hakainde Hichilema took office. The democratic change of power was realized for the first time in 10 years.

(4) Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is located in the center of southern Africa and is a landlocked country where successive kingdoms have prospered between the 11th and 15th centuries, leaving behind a large group of stone ruins known as “Great Zimbabwe.” Promoting distribution and infrastructure development is also important for the development of the regional economy. In May, the “Project for the Road Improvement of the Northern Part of the North-South Corridor” to rehabilitate a part of the main road connecting the country and the Zambia border, which was supported by Japan, was completed. President Emmerson Mnangagwa and others expressed their gratitude for Japan's cooperation.

(5) Namibia

Namibia has abundant marine and mineral resources, and as a distribution hub on the Atlantic side of southern Africa, it is expected that its trade and investment will expand in the fields of resource development and energy. Namibia is a stable democratic country, and thus remained the top among African countries in the 2021 Press Freedom Index following 2020.

(6) Botswana

Botswana has developed as a middle- and high-income country with diamonds as core industry which boasts the second-largest production in the world under stable political situation since gaining independence in 1966. In recent years, it has been focusing on diversifying industry and reducing poverty with the aim of breaking away from its diamond-dependent economy.

(7) Malawi

Malawi has had relatively stable domestic affairs since its independence in 1964, but there have been frequent demonstrations against the result of the presidential election in May 2019. Re-election was held in June 2020, the leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Lazarus Chakwera defeated the incumbent and became president, and the country is regaining stability.

In 2021, Japan and Malawi celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)'s dispatch to the country, which began in 1971. Since the start of the dispatch, JICA has contributed to nation-building through rural development, medical care and school education. As of the end of December, the total number of dispatched workers was 1,897, the highest in the world.

(8) South Africa

South Africa is the only G20 member in Africa. It continues to garner attention from foreign companies including Japanese companies as a major economic power in Africa and as a hub from which to carry out business expansion.

After former President Jacob Zuma was imprisoned in July for contempt of court over alleged corruption, riots broke out centered on plundering shops that killed more than 330 people and resulted in more than 3,400 arrests. In addition, following the spread of COVID-19, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been continuously implementing domestic measures to both control infections and restart the economy. In August, South Africa became chair of the Organ on Politics, Defense and Security Affairs of the SADC and continues to play an important role in controlling infections regionally.

In November, unitary local elections were held, and the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party, received less than 50% of the votes for the first time since democratization in 1994.

(9) Mozambique

In Mozambique, attacks by armed groups claiming to be IS and others have occurred frequently in the northern province of Cabo Delgado since the latter half of 2019. In March, a large-scale attack occurred near the LNG project site in the province. Since the summer, the security situation has been improving with the participation of the SADC and Rwanda security forces in operations to eliminate terrorists. Japan has been providing humanitarian assistance such as food aid for internally displaced persons and development assistance to help the local residents achieve economic independence.

(10) Lesotho

Lesotho, a landlocked country composed mostly of mountainous highlands, continues to grow economically through mining and water resources development. 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 March, the Honorary Consulate General of the Kingdom of Lesotho in Gunma was opened. In July, Japan celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and sent a congratulatory message from Japan during an online commemorative event.