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No. 14. Japan-African Relations: Applying the Asian Development Experience to Sub-Saharan Africa

Bertha Z. Osei-Hwedie and Kwaku Osei-Hwedie
Japan-African Relations Cover

Africa has enormous wealth. Yet despite its extensive resources, sub-Saharan Africa is the world's poorest region, with one-sixth of the world's population but only one-fourth of the world's GDP. It is a marginalized continent needing to interact with outside donors to facilitate development and to become a partner of equal standing with other major economies. 

To this end, Africa has reached out to donors including China, India and Japan, as well as the former colonial powers. This monograph focuses on Japan as a major role player and champion of Africa's development concerns. While the controversy in recent times has fallen on China-Africa relations and the contest for Africa's resources, Japan's relations with the continent have attracted little attention or concern. Yet Japan's foreign aid framework represents a real alternative to that of the West. Similarly, while the EU-Africa Partnership Agreements, the U.S.-Africa Growth Opportunity Act, and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation have received much publicity, comparatively little is known about Japan's Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

This monograph, therefore, examines TICAD in order to shed light on Japan-Africa relations in terms of their focus, impact and consequences for Africa. Beginning with the origins of Japanese aid to Africa, the monograph goes on to discuss TICAD's background, principles, objectives and operations as the framework for Africa's development; it explores the reasons for Japan's economic and technical assistance to Africa and evaluates TICAD's achievements and the extent to which it constitutes an alternative development framework.

Bertha Z. Osei-Hwedie is Associate Professor of International Politics and Chai of the Centre for Culture and Peace Studies in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Botswana. 

Kwaku Osei-Hwedie is Professor of Social Work, also at University of Botswana.


IAD 2010, No. 14, 85 pages, 978-0-9802223-4-0, 0-98022234-6, $12 paperback

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To order this title, please send an email to, or mail order form to the Institute for African Development, 190 Uris Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853.