Japan sweetens offer to Africa

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Japan is spending more than $5 million to host this week’s summit, and Mr. Fukuda has vowed to meet personally with each African leader in attendance.

The race to lock up African resources and markets has its critics.

Economists warn that the exclusive trade and supply deals represent a new mercantilism, in which Asia’s big rivals essentially bribe their way to economic security at the expense of the global trading system.

Human rights groups say that the mass summits ease the pressure on repressive governments and major rights violators such as Sudan and Zimbabwe. Both will attend the Yokohama summit, although authoritarian Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will not head his country’s delegation.

Some development specialists warn that the modern “Great Game” is creating new classes of haves and have-nots on the world’s poorest continent, as countries without energy or valuable natural resources fall further behind.

“If Africa does not move to solidify its collective bargaining, then summit diplomacy will adversely affect an individual nation’s leverage as ‘new oil powers’ emerge to hog international interest,” said an analysis by Elijah N. Munyi, development researcher for the Korea Institute for Development Strategy in Seoul.

About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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