Rethinking the Aid Paradigm: Japan’s Engagement in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa is forecasted to grow by six percent in 2014, which would make the region second only to Asia in economic dynamism. Improved governance, better economic management and a friendly business climate have led donor countries to take notice and step up their engagement in ways that go beyond traditional aid and humanitarian efforts—most notably with concessional loans for infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships and a more active private sector.
One country recalibrating its engagement with Africa is Japan. After 20 years of conventional development support, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held in Yokohama in June 2013 added a new element: private sector involvement. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that, over the next five years, Japan’s contributions to African development would include $16 billion from public and private resources and $2 billion in trade insurance in addition to $14 billion in official development assistance.
On June 13, the Brookings Center for East Asia Policy Studies and the Africa Growth Initiative co-hosted a public event to identify key recommendations for African policymakers looking to capitalize on Japan’s and other countries’ new engagement strategies to achieve their development goals. Panelists discussed the effects of both competition and collaboration among country donors as well as how the changing aid landscape will impact the region.
After each session, panelists took audience questions.
Former Brookings Expert
Chief Senior Researcher - Institute of Developing Economies
Deputy Coordinator, Power Africa/Trade Africa - United States Agency for International Development
Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Relations Department - Mitsubishi Corporation
Executive Vice President - Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
“The 21st century has revalued these small geographies. That’s what the 21st century demands,” Katz said, noting that these days, “[w]e aren’t innovating in isolated business parks” in the suburbs.
"Instead of stopping trade, modernize the trade agreements, but also provide safety nets for workers. Because these things are going to keep happening, not only because of trade but because of modernization."