Author: Howard Lehman.
Lehman, Howard. 2005. "Japan's Foreign Aid Policy to Africa Since the Tokyo International Conference on African Development." Pacific Affairs 78 423-442.
Japan has been the only developed country to consistently hold major international conferences on African development. It has held three conferences in 1993, 1998, and 2003. Given that Japan only provides about ten percent of its Official Development Assistance funds to Africa and given the severe economic pressures with which the country has been burdened, the reasons for organizing these major development conferences are not self-evident. This paper argues that Japan's ODA strategy seeks to create an alternative to the World Bank/Washington Consensus arguments. This article seeks to explain and understand the evolution of Japan's ODA policy towards Africa and the history of the TICAD process by asking two sets of questions. First, in what way does the TICAD agenda attempt to position Japan's ODA strategy and policy as separate and unique from the Western ODA efforts? Second, what did the government hope to gain from financing and organizing these conferences? Why did the government not only put on one meeting but a series of international meetings? The article concludes by examining how Japan has moved to counter the neoliberal policy emphasis on structural adjustment with a more nuanced approach emphasizing self-help policies, loans, and poverty reduction through industrial development. Japan itself draws extensively from its perceived model of national and regional economic development as it hopes to influence non-Asian societies as in Africa.