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2008年5月29日 (木)


(May. 29, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Japan to grow with African states

アフリカ支援 「成長の同伴者」めざす日本(5月29日付・読売社説)

The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) will be a great step forward in enhancing codependent relations between Japan and African countries that are rich in natural resources and expected to achieve high economic growth.



codependent relations=共存関係=coexistence)

Leaders from 40 of the 53 countries in Africa gathered at TICAD, which opened Wednesday in Yokohama, to discuss assistance measures for the continent. A record number of countries will be participating this year.


This is the first time the conference, which was inaugurated in 1993 at Japan's initiative, has garnered such a great deal of attention, symbolizing the energy of vibrant African countries and their expectations for Japan's development assistance.



Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said in his address at the conference that the 21st century is "the century of African growth" and that "Japan wants to walk alongside the African people, shoulder to shoulder."




Present plans


In concrete terms, Fukuda promised to double Japan's official development assistance and corporate investment for Africa in the next five years.


It was significant that the prime minister announced plans to enhance Japanese assistance for African countries while in the presence of their leaders.


Japan also needs to emphasize in the Yokohama Action Plan and the Yokohama Declaration, both to be adopted Friday, that the nation places a priority on its relations with Africa.


African countries have seen an average 5 percent annual economic growth in recent years and have rich reserves of rare metals that are necessary for making high-tech equipment.


But infrastructure, including roads and ports, is still underdeveloped.



Improvement of infrastructure with Japanese assistance will increase investment from abroad and accelerate economic growth in a virtuous cycle.


virtuous cycle=理想的なサイクルで)

Although Africa in general has seen the beginning of economic development, many countries on the continent are still suffering from poverty, conflict and infectious diseases such as AIDS. Many Africans have trouble getting daily meals because of food shortages due to soaring global food prices.



Future investment


At the conference, Japan announced it would double rice production in Africa in addition to emergency food aid.


Japan should give agricultural technical guidance to African states and help them increase the use of a new variety of rice that is high-yield and more resistant to drought. This will contribute to mid- and long-term development of agriculture in those countries.


Japan also promised to provide financial assistance for the promotion of countermeasures against global warming, which are said to be needed even in African countries. This also marks a significant contribution to these countries.


Besides, Africa is a big voting bloc for Japan as it aspires to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. Enhancement of its relations with African nations will improve diplomatic efforts to realize this long-held bid.



Aid to Africa will be a major item on the agenda at the summit meeting of leaders from the Group of Eight countries to be held in Toyakocho, Hokkaido, in July. Japan is responsible for connecting achievements made at TICAD to discussions at the G-8 summit.


Japan used to be the biggest ODA donor in the world, but tumbled to fifth place in 2007. Taking advantage of the opportunity offered by TICAD, it must quickly move to strategically modify its policy in order to increase ODA.



(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 29, 2008)

20085290148  読売新聞)


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