Contemporary and past dynamics in Japan’s relationship with sub-Saharan Africa : the role of aid

Mlombo, Abraham (2012-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Includes bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Japanese-African aid relationship has evolved since World War Two. The majority of studies on Japan’s role in Africa have focused on the economic aspect, while Japan’s aid relationship with Africa remains a relatively underexplored area of enquiry. This thesis aims to contribute to the study of Japanese-African relations by focusing on the role of aid in Japan’s involvement with the continent. The research question focuses on the evolution of Japan’s aid relationship with sub-Saharan Africa and the factors that have shaped this relationship. The study is qualitative and exploratory in nature and makes use mostly of secondary sources. Theoretically, the study analyses the aid relationship with reference to three sources of motivation for the provision of aid, namely economic, political and moral rationales. The findings of this study highlight the fact that, before 1990, Japan’s aid relationship with Africa was motivated by all three rationales. From an economic perspective, aid served as security for resources from Africa especially after the oil crisis of 1973. From a political perspective, Japan’s aid relationship served a number of objectives that changed over time. The study highlights these changes, suggesting that, from a political perspective, Japan’s aid in respect of Africa initially served to play a critical role in the Western camp in its anti-communist struggle on the continent. It was also used to curb criticism directed at Japan by African countries for its pro-Pretoria policy. After 1990, Japan’s aid relationship with Africa from political perspective served Japan’s ambition to be recognised as a political power, most importantly to receive the support from Africa that would allow Japan to secure a permanent seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council. From an economic perspective, it served to secure strategic natural resources for Japan that would sustain its growing economy and help to achieve its ambition of attaining global economic supremacy. From a moral perspective, the aid relationship served to promote a development path for Africa similar to that experienced in Japan’s Asian neighbourhood. Japan’s aid relationship with sub-Saharan Africa can be explained from a realist perspective, since the country’s national interests played a key role in the distribution of aid in this region. It has been important for Japan to maintain its momentum regarding global economic prominence and influence and for it to try to secure a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. By distributing aid to Africa, it has hoped to improve its chances of achieving its economic ambition and importantly its elevation to the Security Council. The study thus suggests that political ambitions have been the primary motivating factor in the distribution of aid in sub-Saharan Africa. The areas for further investigation, as highlighted by the findings of this study, are as follows: Japan’s aid relationship with Africa remains a relatively new area of inquiry and more research could therefore be done given the available data. The study also highlights the political perspective as the primary motivating factor for Japan’s aid relationship with Africa. This served Japan’s ambitions of being recognised as a global political player that would find its greatest expression in securing a permanent seat on the UN Security Council with the assistance of African nations. Future studies could investigate whether Japan has managed to achieve its global political ambition and whether African countries played a significant role in this process. Finally, future studies could study the effectiveness of the TICAD process and whether Japan’s non-Western approach to development remains a popular model.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hulpverhouding tussen Japan en Afrika het sedert die Tweede Wêreldoorlog ontvou. Die studie van Japan se rol in Afrika het tot dusver grootliks op die ekonomiese aspek gekonsentreer, terwyl Japan se hulpverlening aan Afrika’n betreklik onderontginde studieveld bly. Hierdie tesis wil tot die studie van Japan-Afrika-betrekkinge bydra deur op Japan se hulpverlening aan die vasteland te konsentreer. Die navorsingsvraag handel oor die ontwikkeling van Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika suid van die Sahara, en die faktore wat hierdie verhouding gevorm het. Die studiemetodologie is kwalitatief en verkennend, en maak hoofsaaklik van sekondêre bronne gebruik. Wat teorie betref, ontleed die studie die hulpverhouding aan die hand van drie motiverings vir hulpverlening, naamlik ekonomiese, politieke en morele beweegredes. Die studieresultate toon dat Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika voor 1990 deur ál drie bogenoemde beweegredes aangevuur is. Uit ’n ekonomiese hoek het hulp as sekuriteit vir hulpbronne uit Afrika gedien, veral ná die oliekrisis van 1973. Uit ’n politieke hoek het Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika ’n aantal oogmerke help bevorder wat mettertyd verander het. Die studie beklemtoon hierdie veranderinge, en doen aan die hand dat, wat politiek betref, Japan se hulpverlening aan Afrika aanvanklik belangrik was in die Westerse kamp se stryd teen kommunisme op die Afrikavasteland. Dit is ook gebruik om Afrika-kritiek op Japan se pro-Pretoria-beleid te smoor. Ná 1990 het die hulpverhouding met Afrika Japan op politieke gebied help naam maak en veral Afrikasteun help werf om ’n permanente setel vir Japan in die Veiligheidsraad te bekom. Uit ’n ekonomiese hoek het dit as waarborg gedien vir strategiese natuurlike hulpbronne wat Japan se groeiende ekonomie kon ondersteun en tot sy strewe na wêreldwye ekonomiese heerskappy kon bydra. Uit ’n morele perspektief wou Japan Afrika ’n soortgelyke ontwikkelingsroete as dié van Japan se Asiatiese bure laat inslaan. Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika suid van die Sahara kan aan die hand van die realistiese perspektief verklaar word, aangesien die land se nasionale belange ’n kernrol in die verspreiding van hulp na hierdie streek gespeel het. Vir Japan was dit belangrik om sy stukrag in die strewe na wêreldwye ekonomiese statuur en invloed te behou en ’n permanente setel in die Veiligheidsraad te probeer bekom. Deur hulp aan Afrika te verleen, het Japan gehoop om sy kanse op sukses in sy ekonomiese strewes en veral ook sy verheffing tot die Veiligheidsraad te verbeter. Die studie gee dus te kenne dat politieke ambisies die hoofbeweegrede was vir hulpverlening aan Afrika suid van die Sahara. Gebiede vir verdere navorsing wat uit die bevindinge van hierdie studie spruit, is soos volg: Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika bly ’n betreklik nuwe studieveld met min beskikbare data, dus is verdere navorsing daaroor nodig. Meer bepaald beklemtoon die studie die politieke perspektief as hoofbeweegrede vir Japan se hulpverhouding met Afrika: Dit het Japan as internasionale politieke speler help vestig, en Afrikalande sou Japan uiteindelik help om die gesogte permanente setel in die Veiligheidsraad te bekom. Toekomstige studies kan verken of Japan in sy internasionale politieke strewe geslaag het en watter rol Afrikalande daarin gespeel het. Laastens kan verdere studies ook ondersoek instel na die TIKAO-proses en of Japan se nie-Westerse benadering tot ontwikkeling ’n gewilde model bly.

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