We are delighted to invite you to the upcoming AFRASO Lecture: "Japan and China in Africa: Allies, Partners, or Adversaries?" by Seifudein Adem (AFRASO Fellow 2017). The lecture will take place on January, 18th in room SH 2.108 (Seminarhaus, Campus Westend) from 4 pm - 6 pm.
In January 2014 Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Ivory Coast, Mozambique and Ethiopia. In May 2014 Premier Li Keqiang of China visited Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya. In December 2015 President Xi Jinping was in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 6th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting. In August 2016 Prime Minister Abe was in Nairobi, Kenya, for the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development meeting. Japan opened its first overseas military facility in the post-World War II period in Djibouti in 2011. China opened its first overseas military and naval facility in Djibouti in 2017.
Apart from the above overlapping visits, events and activities, it is clear from the pronouncements of Chinese and Japanese leaders and diplomats that there is a contest between the two countries for influence in Africa. More recent developments also suggest Sino-Japanese rivalry in Africa is well underway.
China and Japan are trying to cope with changes in the international system, their region and domestically. The patterns of their relationship with Africa also reflects this reality. In other words, the unfolding Sino-Japanese rivalry in Africa is a by-product of the growing power of China as well as its global ambition and the anxiety this has caused in Japan, a situation which is additionally fueled by the centuries-old love-hate relationship between the two countries. But it is only in the 21st century that the two countries have both acquired the status of major powers simultaneously. Naturally, this makes it difficult for us to look back for clues about their future behaviors in Africa, and beyond. But it is almost certain that Africa would continue to provide a fertile ground for Sino-Japanese rivalry. Although Japan and China have no legitimacy deficits and are respected by Africans, the two Asian powerhouses have overlapping and, potentially divergent, interests in Africa. What are the causes, manifestations and, more importantly, potential consequences of Sino-Japanese rivalry in Africa? And what are the wider implications for Africa?
Seifudein Adem is the 2017 AFRASO Research Fellow at Goethe University Franfurt, Germany. He is also the former Associate Director (2006-2016), Institute of Global Cultural Studies, Binghamton University, New York, USA. His recent publications include AFRASIA: A Tale of Two Continents (University Press of America, 2013) and China’s Diplomacy in Eastern and Southern Africa (Ashgate, 2013; Routledge (reprint), 2017).