Japan Joins the New Scramble for Africa with Bold Moves

Posted by Jeneba Project on Thursday, January 9, 2014 Under: Articles

As the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, prepares a week-long visit to Africa, the BBC is reporting that he intends to pledge more that $14 billion in aid and trade deals. It seems Japan knows that if it is to compete with other world powers scrambling for and partitioning Africa’s resources, especially its main rival China, it has to go beyond the efforts of Yasuhiro Murotatsu, the so called bare foot diplomat who achieved some wonderful diplomatic gains by competing in the Sudanese Wrestling bouts. 

Last year, Japan hosted the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development and announced a five-year aid package amounting to $32 billion in support of infrastructural development and economic growth. But Japan’s $32 billion is a drop in the bucket in comparison to rivals such as India and China. India has recently promised $65 billion worth of trade with Africa and China surpassed the bold move by raising the stakes to a whopping $200 billion.  Countries such as Brazil and South Korea have also made modest bids in the new scramble for Africa’s resources.

In all likelihood, this is the time for Africa. But the question is whether Africa has learned from its past errors in negotiating foreign business relations or will the continent’s leaders once again auction our resources with little benefit to the struggling masses wallowing in poverty and human misery? African leaders such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia have frequently stated that in dealing with countries such as China in the 21st century, Africa has its own free will and interests, but we can only hope that those interests favour the ordinary people of the continent whose resources continue to be extracted for the economic well-being of foreigners. 

The Japanese Prime Minister has strategically selected three African countries to visit on his trip to the continent. He is expected to visit Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and Mozambique. According to the BBC, he is to announce plans for a geothermal plant in Ethiopia, bolster Japan’s bid for recently discovered gas and coal in Mozambique, and make a mark in Ivory Coast, a gateway to the relative untapped resources of West Africa. In all this, the Americans and Europeans are standing their ground and will not easily succumb to usurpation by newcomers.

So, then, it is up to Africans to transform these new opportunities into rewarding investments for the continent. We cannot allow ourselves to miss another opportunity to achieve what Africa truly deserves for its people-a flouring economy and sustainable development.

In : Articles 

Tags: "joseph kaifala" africa japan "japanese prime minister" "scramble for africa" "shinzo abe" "yasuhiro murotatsu" 
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KATEHUN KATEHUN (pronounced Ka-te-hun)-is a Mende word for a symposium or community center where disputes are settled. Everyone is permitted to make his/her case before a presiding chief in an open forum. On this forum, I write primarily for those who stand committed to the Rule of Law in Africa and to the value that our future is better determined by the government of the people, by the people, and in service for the people. To advance the African value of Ubuntu through International Law and the Principles of a United Nations, which propels us towards Life in Larger Freedom.
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