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Japan’s Evolving Relationship with Africa

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Shinzo Abe

During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s last visit to Africa, he emphasized, in a press conference in Ethiopia, that Japan’s focus in the continent are “young people,” who will shoulder the responsibility for the future of Africa, and women, who will give life to the continent’s future generations. Japan presents its policies regarding Africa as altruistic and humanitarian but some critics say it is driven very much by Realpolitik. In the past century, Japan’s activities in Africa have ranged from mostly business relationships to what Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls an aid-based diplomacy. What are we seeing now and what are Japan’s true intentions going forward?

Trade relations between Africa and Japan started developing significantly during World War I, with Egypt and South Africa being the main trade partners. Between the World Wars, substantial trade relationships developed between Japan and Uganda, as well as Egypt, both of which supplied cotton for the Japanese textile industry with Japan supplying manufactured goods.

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False Alarms During Dubai’s Second « Property Crash »

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dubai real estate

In mid- January 2015, many real-estate developers and financial experts were worried: with Dubai World’s debt-restructuring talks looming overhead, a stock market meltdown and subsequently devastating property crash seemed almost inevitable. (more…)

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Chinese investment funds in Africa

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The increasing number and capitalization of Chinese investment funds in Africa causes both opportunities and losses for African countries.

According to the latest China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation White Paper published in 2013, cumulative Chinese OFDI (outward foreign direct investment, showing the total accumulated value of assets) to Africa amounts to US$21 billion (by official figures). Statistics published by Chinese Ministry of Commerce show that Chinese yearly OFDI flows to Africa increased sharply from $317 mn in 2004 up to $2.52 bn in 2012. Chinese premier minister Li Reqtang, while his official visit to Africa in 2014, predicted that Chinese OFDI to Africa will reach $100 bn by 2020. (more…)

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