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Letter to the Editor: Contrasting Japanese vs. Chinese Investment in Africa

Dear Eric, As the Representative in Africa for JETRO (Japan External Trade Organization), I would like to comment regarding your column on September 24th, "What It Takes To Compete Against the Chinese in Africa," where you mentioned that ...

Japanese PM Abe Was a Big Proponent of Engagement With Africa, What Happens Now That He’s Stepping Down?

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who announced last week that he will step down for health reasons, was an enthusiastic proponent of a robust African engagement strategy. In particular, the prime minister advocated for a trade-led foreign policy with Africa that was highlighted ...

Transsion IPO Proves the Promise of the African Market

This week's stunning stock debut of the Chinese company that dominates the African mobile phone market is definitive proof in the promise of the African market. Shenzhen-based Transsion Holdings started trading this week on the NASDAQ-style Star exchange in Shanghai where its stock immediately shot up ...

Japan the EU Sign an Ambitious Deal to Build Infrastructure in the Developing World With an Eye on Countering China

Japan and the European Union signed a so-called "connectivity partnership" to build infrastructure and set development standards in joint projects around the world. While neither the agreement nor the leaders from either side mentioned China by name, it's widely believed that this deal is intended, in ...

Kenyan Borrowing From Japan Surges as Chinese Lending Slows

New data from the National Treasury in Nairobi revealed a dramatic surge in borrowing from Japan, up 162% to more than $1.3 billion during the period of June 2018 to June 2019. The increase in Japanese loans comes as China is slowing its lending to Kenya. "China’s ...

Analysis from Cobus van Staden

What We’ve Lost in the Fire

This weekend was a rough one for South Africa. On Sunday, the country watched as fires around Table Mountain slowly started creeping downhill, towards the beautiful campus of the University of Cape Town (UCT). Soon it was confirmed that the university’s African Studies library, which housed a unique collection of African film, and one of the biggest repositories of historical documents related to Southern Africa, was on fire. Librarians are still trying ...

Japan Summit Provides Wake-up Call for China to Change Its Approach in Africa

An editorial today in one of South Africa's leading financial news publications, Business Daily, enthusiastically welcomed the outcome of last week's Japan-Africa summit in Yokohama. The summit, known as TICAD7, focused a lot of attention on directing Japan's vast private ...

At TICAD7, China is Invisible, but Ever-Present

There’s a real disconnect at TICAD7 this year. This gap isn’t between Japan and Africa. Rather it’s between the experience of being inside TICAD and how it’s represented in the media. The dominant outside narrative is that TICAD is all about China – in

Reflections on TICAD7 With Judd Devermont

In this episode, Eric & Cobus speak with Judd Devermont, Director of the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a prominent think tank in Washington, on his key takeaways from this year’s Tokyo International Conference on African ...

Why Using a Zero-Sum Analysis to Compare Japan and China in Africa “doesn’t work”

With the Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD, summit coming up this week in Yokohama, there is often a temptation to compare Tokyo's engagement strategy in Africa with that of Beijing's. Furthermore, there are often references to how the Sino-Japanese rivalry in Asia also tends ...

Why Everyone Will Be Thinking About China at the Upcoming Japan-Africa Summit

54 countries and international organizations will convene at the end of August in Yokohama for the seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development or TICAD. While the event is ostensibly about Japanese engagement with Africa, a lot of attendees will likely ...
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