Leadership in Development Cooperation between Asia and Africa: Japanese vs Chinese Model
by Franck E. BONZEMBA, PhD[*1]
Socio-economic conditions of African countries and those of East and South-East Asian countries were similar in the 1960s, the independence era for the majority of African countries.
While development has been the prime imperative for each side, East and South-East Asian experienced extraordinary socio-economic growth since the 1960s, whereas the majority of African countries faced low economic growth leading to low GDP per capita in the 1980s and 1990s respectively. Therefore, their policy-making were dominated by stabilization and structural adjustment programs during that era of “aid fatigue”.
It was during that era that Japan initiated the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) in order to refocus international attention on the importance and urgency of African development issues. TICAD I was held in Tokyo, Japan, in 1993 followed by the the first Asia-Africa Forum (AAF I) held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1994, and so forth. Among other objectives, TICAD called for increased South-South cooperation between Asia and Africa.
However, contrary to the lost decades for Africa, i.e. the 1980s and 1990s respectively, the political and socio-economic conditions of many countries improved in the 2000s. In addition, other Asian players have emerged in the international scene such as China, South Korea and India, each interested in developing his own development partnership framework and ties with Africa as well, leading to a “competition” between these different development cooperation initiatives. One of these major initiatives is the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) initiated in 2000.
What are the potential outcomes of TICAD and FOCAC from African perspectives? Based on those outcomes, what are the possible implications for the leadership in development cooperation between Asia and Africa and ways forwards? This paper will try to find relevant answers to these types of questions.
Keywords: Development cooperation, TICAD, FOCAC.
[*1] The author is an International Civil Servant at the International Trade Centre, United Nations. It should be noted that views expressed are of the author and not of the United Nations.
The author is also a Visiting Professor at Kansai University.