Author: Scarlett Cornelissen.
The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), now in its fifth iteration, has significantly evolved both in its content and as a process. Over the years, successive conferences have placed emphasis on various aspects of African development, and there have also been attempts to make the conference and its spin-offs more inclusive. The fourth TICAD, held in 2008, signalled the most significant effort by the Japanese authorities to improve the effectiveness and impact of the TICAD process. This was against the background of Japan's continued economic troubles and increased domestic pressure to more efficiently use Japan's dwindling aid resources. As a result, while the product of deliberation with African stakeholders, the TICAD IV outcomes reflect many of Japan's domestic and strategic priorities. This essay takes stock of the principal outcomes of TICAD IV and their implications for Japan's economic cooperation with the Southern African region. It does so from the position that Japan's broad economic links with Southern Africa have followed a distinct pattern over the past 10 to 15 years. The essay reviews general tendencies in Japanese aid and investments to Southern Africa against the backdrop of developments in Japan's wider Africa policy. It discusses some of the prominent outflows of TICAD IV and concludes with an assessment of their implications for the subregion.