Japan to Strengthen Relations with Africa, Focusing on China as a Key Factor

Japan is ramping up its diplomatic efforts in Africa in a bid to enhance cooperation with the Global South and counter China’s influence on the continent. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s recent visits to four African countries, along with plans to deepen cooperation through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), show Japan’s renewed focus on the continent.

TICAD, spearheaded by Japan, is a summit-level conference aimed at strategizing for African development. With its 30th anniversary approaching, Japanese officials and leaders from African nations are looking to strengthen collaboration on a range of international challenges.

While the early focus of TICAD was on aid and poverty alleviation, the evolving landscape in Africa has led to a greater emphasis on investment-related issues. African nations are increasingly seen as appealing investment destinations for Japanese businesses, reflecting the continent’s growing economic and population potential.

Despite China’s active efforts to align African countries with its interests through initiatives like the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative, there are concerns over the influx of Chinese capital into Africa being labeled as “debt trap” diplomacy.

In contrast, Japan is highlighting its unique approach to assisting Africa, focusing on human resource development and providing support with a deep understanding of the recipient side’s perspective. The forthcoming Group of Seven summit and the ninth TICAD in 2025 are expected to continue discussions on aid to Africa and formulate crucial policies for the continent’s development.

With Japan’s diplomatic efforts intensifying and China’s influence continuing to grow, the stage is set for increased collaboration between Japan and African nations. As the international landscape shifts, the strategic importance of Africa and the initiatives to enhance cooperation with the Global South will continue to be vital components of Japan’s foreign policy in the years to come.


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