Japan pledges $30 billion in African aid at Tunis summit

Japan pledges $30 billion in African aid

Japan pledges $30 billion in African aid at the Tunis summit in response to economic pressure arising from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Saturday, Japan pledged $30 billion in funding for development in Africa, stating that it wanted to work more closely with the continent.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared during a Japan-Africa meeting in Tunisia that Tokyo will do its best to ensure grain exports to Africa despite a worldwide shortage.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Kishida declared through videolink, “If we give up on a rules-based society and permit unilateral changes of the status quo by force, the impact of that will extend not only through Africa, but all the world.”

In conjunction with the African Development Bank, Kishida promised that the $30 billion will be delivered over three years and in smaller sums for food security.

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Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi was quoted by Tunisia’s official news agency as saying that Tunisia will receive $100 million from Japan to help lessen the impact of the pandemic.

The summit comes after Tunisian President Kais Saied seized vast powers, which were formally enshrined through a constitutional referendum, a move his critics call a coup. It also gives Kais his greatest international platform since his 2019 victory.

At a press conference held on Friday with his Japanese colleague, Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi emphasized several times Tunisia’s dedication to democracy, something Saied’s critics have questioned.

The summit sparked a row between Tunisia and Morocco, which was enraged by Saied’s decision to invite the Polisario movement, which demands independence for Western Sahara, a territory Rabat controls.

For consultations, Morocco and Tunisia have called back their respective envoys from their respective nations. Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario, was invited against Japan’s desires, according to Rabat. Tokyo has not yet responded.

In order to deal with a coming public budget crisis that has been made worse by the global squeeze on commodities, Tunisia itself needs financial assistance. Due to a gasoline shortage, long queues have formed at gas stations this week, and some commodities are already being rationed at stores.