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Japan pledges USD 30 bn to help Africa

Japan pledged USD 30 bn in aid for development in Africa during a Japan-Africa summit in Tunisia on Saturday. The Asian country’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, said that Japan wants to work more closely with the continent together with the rules-based international order, which is under threat after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He added that Tokyo would work to ensure grain shipments to Africa amid a global shortage.

I am pleased to participate at the opening of the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development #TICAD8 in #Tunis, where the @_AfricanUnion is one of the co-organisers, and hosted by the brotherly nation of #Tunisia under the leadership of president Kaïs Saied.

— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) August 27, 2022

“If we give up on a rules-based society and permit unilateral changes of the status quo by force, the impact of that will extend not only through Africa, but all the world,” the PM said via videolink, he could not be present during the event because he tested positive for COVID-19.

The head of the Japanese government stated that the USD 30 billion would be delivered over three years, promising smaller sums for food security in coordination with the African Development Bank.

#Japan pledges $30 billion in #African aid at Tunis summit

— Ahmed Fathi – UN Correspondent (@AhmedFathi_) August 27, 2022

Tunisia itself is in need of financial support as it faces a looming crisis in public finances that has been worsened by the global shortage of commodities. Week-long queues have formed at petrol stations amid a fuel shortage, while shops have started rationing some goods.

Internal turmoil

The summit has given Tunisian President Kais Saied, who recently seized broad powers through a constitutional referendum, the biggest international platform since Tunisia’s 2019 election.

Speaking on Friday at a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart, Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandirepeatedly emphasised Tunisia’s commitment to democracy, which has been questioned by the President’s critics.

Tensions over summit guests

The summit has caused some tensions between Tunisia and Morocco, which was angered by President Saied’s decision to invite the Polisario movement that seeks independence for Western Sahara, a territory Rabat regards as its own.

#Morocco summons its ambassador to #Tunisia and announces its boycott of the Japan-Africa #TICAD8 summit in protest against the participation of #Polisario leader Ibrahim Ghali.

— Bassam Bounenni بسام بونني (@bbounenni) August 26, 2022

Morocco and Tunisia have recalled their ambassadors from respective countries for consultations. Rabat said the decision to invite Polisario leader Brahim Ghali was made against Japan’s wishes. Tokyo has yet to comment.

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