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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 have China on their minds during the two-day summit.

Japanese officials are already signaling that they intend to use this year’s TICAD to highlight how Tokyo’s approach to the continent differs significantly from that of Beijing’s. Specifically, they’ve indicated that the final communique will likely include an expression of “concern” about excessive debt levels in Africa, a not-so-subtle critique of Chinese lending practices in Africa, and there will also be a lot of talk about the supposed differences in quality between Japanese and Chinese construction in Africa.

DR Congo-native and University of Tsukuba economics professor Jean- Maswana will be among the speakers at next week’s event. One of the issues that he plans to address relates to the competing agendas of the various stakeholders at events like TICAD.

“Japan and China both have their respective national interests when it comes to Africa, he explains, “but what role do African leaders have in defining their own interests with rather than simply be a recipient of other countries’ agendas?”

Seifudein Adem, Professor at Doshisha University

Professor Maswana joins Eric from Tsukuba, just outside of Tokyo, to share his views on what to expect from this year’s TICAD summit and why China will likely figure so prominently in the discussions.

Show Notes:

Jean- Maswana is a Professor of Economics at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. His expertise is on macroeconomics. Much of his recent research covers issues related to development economics, empirics of finance-growth nexus and international trade. Jean- Maswana joined the Graduate School of Business Sciences in 2014 after lecturing Development Economics at Kyoto University and Tokyo University. He also served as Macroeconomist Research Fellow at the Japan International Cooperation Agency. He has also served as consultant for international organizations such as the OECD, European Science Foundation, and was a member of the China-DAC-Group on African Development. He earned a Ph.D. in International Economics & Development (with concentration on finance and economic growth) from Nagoya University, Japan, in March 2003. He has published many scientific papers in refereed journals and given presentations at many international conferences. He is a member of the following academic associations: American Economic Association, African Finance and Economics Association, Chinese Economist Society, and Japan Association for African Studies.

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