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Japan announces $30 billion in aid for African development

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On Saturday, Japan pledged $30 billion in aid for African development, saying it wants to work more closely with the continent as the rules-based international order is under threat as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said at a Japan-Africa summit in Tunisia that Tokyo would work to ensure grain shipments to Africa in the face of a global shortage.

“If we abandon a rules-based society and allow unilateral changes to the status quo by force, the consequences will be felt not only in Africa but throughout the world,” Kishida said via videolink after testing positive for COVID-19.

Kishida stated that the $30 billion would be distributed over three years, with smaller amounts promised for food security in collaboration with the African Development Bank.

According to Tunisia’s state news agency, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stated that Japan would grant Tunisia $100 million to help mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

The summit provides Tunisian President Kais Saied with his largest international platform since his election in 2019. It comes after he seized broad powers, formally enshrined in a constitutional referendum, a move his critics call a coup.

Saied urged delegates in his opening speech to “search together for ways for Africa to achieve the hopes and dreams of the first generation after independence.”

He lauded Japan’s success in “achieving development while preserving its culture and social traditions.”
“The world cannot go on as it is. “Africa, with all of its wealth and assets, cannot stand by and watch its people suffer in poverty,” he said.

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‘Excessive’ debt

The TICAD meeting, which is typically held every three years in either Africa or Japan, convened on Saturday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

In an apparent jab at China’s investment policies in the area, former Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated at a campaign event last month, cautioned investors in Africa to avoid burdening “excessive” debt on the continent.

The commitment of Tunisia to democracy, which has been questioned by Saied’s detractors, was frequently emphasized by Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi on Friday during a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart.

Moroccan displeasure over Saied’s decision to invite the Polisario movement, which demands independence for Western Sahara, a region Rabat claims as its own, has led to a dispute between Tunisia and Morocco over the summit.

Morocco and Tunisia have summoned their respective ambassadors for consultations. Rabat claimed that the invitation to Polisario leader Brahim Ghali was made against Japan’s wishes. Tokyo has yet to respond.
Tunisia is in need of financial assistance as it faces a looming public-finance crisis exacerbated by the global commodity price squeeze.

Due to a fuel shortage, long lines have formed at gas stations this week, and stores have begun rationing some goods.



Copyright 2022 Al Jazeera.



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