Prime Minister Abe's Visit to Africa (Outline and Outcomes)
TOKYO, Japan, January 30, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- As a part of his “diplomacy that takes a panoramic perspective of the map”, Prime Minister Abe visited Cote d'Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia from Friday, January 10 to Tuesday, January 14, 2014 following his visit to Oman. An outline of the visit is as follows:
This visit to Africa was the first full-scale visit to Africa by a Japanese prime minister in eight years, fulfilling the promise of an early visit to Africa that Prime Minister Abe announced at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June last year.
1. Promoting the Appeal of Japan as a Partner for Growth in Africa
As a message to Africa as a whole, Prime Minister Abe delivered a policy speech titled “Japan's Diplomacy towards Africa: Strengthening Each Individual, One by One” at the headquarters of the African Union (AU). He made an appeal for Africa to choose Japan as its true partner, explaining that what is necessary for Africa is Japanese assistance and the organizational culture of Japanese companies which value human resources and place importance on the creative ingenuity from the bottom up. In addition, Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan's diplomacy towards Africa will focus on the empowerment of young people and women. In doing so, Prime Minister Abe succeeded in impressing the appeal of Japan for Africa, emphasizing Japan's unique attributes.
Likewise, by meeting 13 leaders in total in three African countries, including the 10 leaders of West African countries who gathered in Cote d'Ivoire, Prime Minister Abe succeeded in strengthening the relationship of trust with leaders and impressed the presence of Japan in Africa. Furthermore, in the policy speech, he reiterated his commitment toward Africa, expressing his will to visit African as many times as necessary in the future.
2. Promoting High-Level Sales
Delegations of 33 Japanese companies, organizations and universities in total accompanied Prime Minister Abe on this visit. By introducing them to leaders of each country and organizing an investment forum in Mozambique, Prime Minister Abe promoted high-level sales toward a reinforced business relationship with Africa.
Furthermore, by signing 14 governmental and private agreements in total, including the diplomatic notes amending the Annex of Japan-Ethiopia air services agreement as well as documents on economic or academic cooperation in Mozambique, this visit built on momentum to strengthen a comprehensive relationship that is not limited to the economic area.
3. Contribution to Peace and Stability / Proactive Contribution to Peace
In terms of the issues of peace and stability, Prime Minister Abe explained the idea of “Proactive Contribution to Peace”, which aims to contribute to regional and global peace and stability more actively. In response, leaders of African countries expressed their support and welcomed the idea.
Likewise, Prime Minister Abe announced that he will support the efforts by the African Union toward peace and stability in Africa and that Japan is prepared to provide financial support of approximately 320 million dollars, aiming to respond to conflicts and disasters, including contributions to improve the situation in South Sudan, the Sahel region and Central African Republic.
4. Reinforcing Multi-layered Relations
Sport-related events were included in the visits to each country, and confirmation has been made that sport exchanges will be promoted toward the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
With a focus on women, Prime Minister Abe visited a vocational training facility for women and announced that he will promote cooperation to realize “an Africa in which women shine”, explaining that the self-reliance of women creates a prosperous society. Mrs. Akie Abe also paid official visits to various places, including a hospital, an agricultural district, educational facilities and welfare facilities, and interacted with a wide range of people, including children and students.