Power Play

Japan's role in the battle for Africa

Money, history and technology all come into play in the tussle for influence in Africa. Japan, a veteran player, has unique advantages but faces a stiff challenge from China.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development, most recently held in Tunisia on Aug 27-28, was first launched in 1993. PHOTO: AFP
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TOKYO - Just nine days before Japan's flagship two-day Africa development pow-wow opened in Tunisia on Aug 27, China held a ministerial conference in Senegal to take stock of the progress made since its own confab last year.

Whether or not the timing was deliberate, the battle to win hearts and minds is clearly being waged over Africa. The continent with about 70 per cent of its 1.4 billion people aged under 30 is often referred to as a "last frontier" that is set to become a key driver of global economic growth. Yet Africa faces serious challenges in areas such as public health, infrastructural development and growing food insecurity.

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