Japan pledges $30 billion in aid to Africa at Tunis summit

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TUNIS — Japan pledged $30 billion in development aid to Africa on Saturday, saying it wants to work more closely with the continent as the rules-based international order comes under threat following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Addressing a Japan-Africa summit in Tunisia, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Tokyo would work to ensure grain shipments to Africa amid global shortages.

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“If we abandon a rules-based society and allow unilateral changes to the status quo by force, the impact of this will spread not only to Africa, but to the whole world,” Kishida said via video conference after speaking. tested positive for COVID-19. .

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Kishida said the $30 billion would be disbursed over three years, pledging smaller sums for food security in coordination with the African Development Bank.

Tunisia’s state-run news agency quoted Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi as saying Japan was giving Tunisia $100 million to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

The summit gave Tunisian President Kais Saied his biggest international platform since his election in 2019 and comes after he seized sweeping powers, formally enshrined in a constitutional referendum, a move his critics call a coup of state.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart on Friday, Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi repeatedly underlined Tunisia’s commitment to democracy, which critics questioned. of Said.

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The summit sparked a row between Tunisia and Morocco, which was angered by Saied’s decision to invite the Polisario movement which is demanding independence for Western Sahara, a territory Rabat considers its own.

Morocco and Tunisia have recalled their ambassadors from the other country for consultations. Rabat said the decision to invite Polisario leader Brahim Ghali was taken against Japan’s wishes. Tokyo has yet to comment.

Tunisia itself needs financial support as it faces a looming public finance crisis that has been aggravated by global pressure on commodities. This week, long queues formed at petrol stations due to a fuel shortage, while stores began rationing some goods.

(Reporting by Nayera Abdallah in Cairo, Elaine Lies and Kentaro Sugiyama in Tokyo and Angus McDowall in Tunis; Editing by Frances Kerry and William Mallard)



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