Japan PM Kishida’s Africa tour lays groundwork for G7 summit, as China and Russia concerns loom large
While the impact of Kishida’s tour is ‘marginal, it can still send ‘a message of solidarity’ that it intends to take the continent’s concerns seriously. Getting the African countries to take active measures against Russia will be difficult if they are not offered strong incentives in exchange, one analyst notes.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last week travelled to Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique in a trip widely described as an attempt to engage with the “Global South” – a broad term referring to countries with relatively low levels of economic and industrial development – ahead of the forum.
Some media reports have suggested that Kishida’s visit was aimed at expanding Japan’s presence amid Chinese and Russian influence in the region.
Kishida said Japan would act as an intermediary between developing countries and the G7 group of advanced economies. He added that he would seek to organise cooperation in areas such as energy and food security, noting that people in Global South nations were reeling from high costs during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Celine Pajon, head of Japan research at the Center for Asian Studies of the French Institute of International Relations in Paris, said Tokyo had taken pains to show understanding of the Global South’s concerns and longing for strategic autonomy.
“While it might not be sufficient to change the position of the countries that are the most dependent on China and Russia, it is nevertheless a positive move to build up Japan’s image as a reliable, trustful, and credible partner for the Global South,” Pajon added.
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