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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:00 06/02/2008
News Review #448: June 2, 2008

Japan Hails Trade Fair to Boost Africa Investment

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan Hails Trade Fair to Boost Africa Investment
AFP (6/2/2008)


According to the AFP news article linked above, a trade fair to stimulate African business was held in Yokohama in connection with the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) last week. In contrast to the official TICAD, where governmental affairs regarding Africa such as official aid and other assistance programs were discussed, a trade fair involving private business was very much welcome by African representatives and business-related people, who often say "Africa needs investment rather than charity."

As is well known, Japan has been lagging behind not only major western countries such as the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany but also some Asian countries, most notably China, in terms of the growth rate of both official assistance and private investment toward Africa for the last several years. Now it seems that Japan's official development assistance is rapidly catching up with those countries, due to a recent policy initiative adopted by the Japanese government. However, it is not certain if Japan's private-sector investment into Africa will increase as much as the representatives of both the Japanese and African representatives are hoping for, probably except in the natural resource and energy-related fields. This is because Japanese business does not seem to have much to offer to African countries in return for natural resources, as Japanese products are generally "too sophisticated" and, therefore, too expensive for a vast majority of people in the region, as compared with Chinese and Korean products, and these days Japanese companies are too busy investing in such emerging economies as China, India and Russia to turn to Africa.

The Japanese government and private businesses should take a more realistic approach toward the African region and examine a viable strategy for both official and private-sector involvement in that region from the long-term viewpoint. Otherwise, the current "Africa boom" might well be short-lived in Japan.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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