This study examines Japan’s peace policy in Africa. Peace and security are one of the central issues in Japan’s diplomacy towards Africa, and the importance is repeatedly emphasised in each Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). As evaluation of Japan’s policy has not been studied in depth, this study attempts to fill this gap by examining the characteristics of recent armed conflicts in Africa and Japan’s policy papers on peace. The Japanese government has primarily contributed to African peace and security through multinational cooperation, as well as activities of the Self-Defence Forces (JSDF) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for peacekeeping and peacebuilding, respectively. Japan’s attempts to dispatch the JSDF to UN peace operations have been facing serious obstacles, as the country has failed to build a relevant legal framework for its activities in complex circumstances, such as current conflict-affected situations in Africa. Peacebuilding will undoubtedly be a central component of Japan’s peace policy, but which JICA activities are considered peacebuilding will depend on the country’s view on peace. Therefore, Japan is required to clarify what kind of peace it intends to build.
The paper adapts Seymour M. Lipset’s thesis, which draws a correlation between economic
development and democracy, to argue that the former is the basis for human security. Effectively, it argues that human security (better life chances) is made more possible and sustainable through a productive economy, with the implication that an economy requires a government to function and grow. My position also rests on the idea that social rights as abstract ideals by themselves do not change social class inequalities and the insecurities they breed, but state policies that are designed and supported to obviate the insecurities of citizens might.
Informal Cross Border Traders (ICBTs) are commonly observed throughout the African continent. Without any official trading approval, ICBTs travel frequently to import or export various goods. As ICBTs benefit local communities as well as their households, they could be considered as an embedded social system of the borderlands in African countries. Although they have not been very attractive either to African governments or international societies, efforts for the formalization of ICBTs have been made in the previous decades. The COMESA Simplified Trade Regime (STR) is an evolutional example designed to benefit ICBTs by reducing their burden at border posts. However, the STR has not been actively used by ICBTs. This study will analyse why ICBTs choose to cross borders informally as well as the paradox between their formalization claims and actual practices. Based on a detailed literature review of relevant surveys, this study focuses on the fact that the majority of ICBTs are divorced mothers, which might make them stay away from formalization.
Mobility is essential for improving the standard of living and enhancing food security, particularly for displaced people. For those living in the conflict-ridden areas of Africa, border crossings and onwards movement are commonplace, which complicates simplistic ideas about displacement and return. This paper examines the mobility of the South Sudanese people who crossed the South Sudan-Uganda border. It highlights historical cross-border mobility and the current situation for refugees in Uganda. Since the mid-1950s, when the first South Sudanese took refuge in Uganda, both the Ugandans and South Sudanese repeatedly crossed the shared border to escape civil wars. Currently, most of the South Sudanese, who fled the recent conflict in South Sudan, remain in Uganda despite the peace agreement of 2018. They seek an opportunity to return. South Sudanese in exile have continually been exposed to uncertain futures. Uganda, which has the largest number of refugees in Africa, prioritises the repatriation of refugees. Here, we present a case study of mid-western Uganda. I present the experiences of multiple refugee displacements. I discuss the agency of refugees, discuss how they employ mobility for a secure life, and whether they decide to settle among the local population in Uganda or return home.
Since 2002, Uganda has been trying to find a durable solution to the Rwandan refugee issue without success. Despite various attempts at (in)voluntary repatriation, the majority refuse to return. Resettlement is not possible, and local integration is yet to be explored. Simultaneously, the recommendation for the cessation of refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has not addressed the problem. We analysed the prospects and challenges of granting East African citizenship to Rwandan refugees by issuing East African Community (EAC) passports or residence permits that would give them freedom of mobility, residence, and employment in the EAC in accordance with the Common Market Protocol. Searching for a durable solution at the EAC level comes at a time when efforts to establish the East African federation continue. This has the potential to end one of the most protracted refugee situations, promoting the rights of Rwandan refugees, and enhancing people-centred regional integration.
The Sub-Saharan African countries began borrowing from the international capital market in the 2000s. African sovereign bonds are accepted in the international market; however, the accumulation of liability triggers international scepticism against debt sustainability, the necessity of borrowing, the legitimacy of spending, and the responsibility of foreign lenders. A brief review of the African sovereign bonds issued in the international capital market in the post-debt cancellation period poses fundamental questions regarding the ability of the market to foster the development and stabilisation of African economies.
Focusing on Tanzania’s examples, this article aims to enumerate and analyse social factors, identifying the specificity of microfinance (MF)’s over-indebtedness in African rural areas for further discussions. As globalisation advances due to the remarkable development of information and communication technology, ‘financial inclusion’ has become a new slogan for poverty reduction. The financialisation of the MF movement proceeds as a part of financial inclusion. However, MF movements in Asia, Latin America, and Africa have not advanced as expected. Since the early 2000s, MF markets and institutions have experienced severe global crises. Over-indebtedness is a severe problem in the ‘developing’ and the ‘developed’ countries, including those in Sub-Saharan Africa, facing rapid urbanisation. The increasing expenditures to meet daily necessities and satisfy material desires make people depend on debts. The vicious circle of the debts deteriorates the borrowers’ daily lives and puts the MF institutions’ performance quality at risk. Although over-indebtedness can be explained by an individual’s lack of financial literacy, this clarification is not enough regarding the rural social structure, mode of production, and social relationships, playing important roles in redressing the balance of household management.
In less than a decade, mobile money has risen from a simple tool to transfer money with cell phones to an innovation that delivers credit and insurance. We use rich panel data from Tanzania from 2008 to 2019 to investigate whether mobile money adoption leads to structural transformation. Leveraging the staggered introduction of mobile money agents through difference-in-differences and event-study strategies, we find evidence that areas with mobile money agents experience a sharp reduction in agricultural employment and agricultural land use. While released workers reallocate to non-agricultural sectors, we also find that these changes cause extensive migration of people. Mobile money also leads to an increase in the use of improved seeds as they become more available, a decrease in the use of banks and cooperatives, and promotes new migration patterns.
The Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana (now divided into the Bono East, Brong Ahafo, and Ahafo regions) is located in the vegetation transition zone and is also known as the ‘food basket’ of Ghana. In 2001, 18% of the crops distributed in Ghana were produced in this area, and many agricultural products were exported to neighbouring countries. Crop production in this region is performed by local people and the Dagaaba people from the Upper West Region, who rent farmland from locals. In the late 1980s, the Dagaaba people began engaging in crop production in the Brong Ahafo Region. They have since set up production bases and sent their families to the Brong Ahafo Region. Savannah people such as the Dagaaba people and the Akan people, who live in the humid southern regions, differ in their culture, religion, and customs; but they have established relatively good relations and have avoided conflicts. Immigrant communities called zongo established themselves rapidly in various parts of the country during the migration of the Dagaaba. This likely made it possible for the Dagaaba people to engage in production in a new area far from their ethnic territory.
This paper describes and analyses how forest dwellers, especially the Baka hunter-gatherers of southeastern Cameroon, perceive and interact with dogs in daily life. I will also discuss the social and ecological contexts of how dogs are involved in the politics and economics of their host societies (i.e. hunter-gatherers and their neighbours). The relation of the Baka to dogs seems dichotomous between the forest and village environments, whereas people treat dogs as hunting and gathering partners in the forest, but tend to treat them maliciously, as ‘food thieves’, at their settlement. Sedentarisation and agriculturalization have continued for decades among the Baka. In addition, the recent increase in the pressure of conservation has facilitated this trend. Changes in the subsistence activities of human societies are reflected in the diet of dogs and their marginalisation at human settlements. Analysis of the causes of canine death suggested a heavy impact of human activities on dog mortality. In tropical forest environments, the survival of dogs independent of humans seems difficult; consequently, their lifespan, health, and population dynamics are related to the ecology of their human host population.
The Bakassi Peninsula has experienced a twenty-five-year-long border dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria since the 1980s, a crisis that has affected its environment and natural resource assets. Currently, it is threatened by deforestation and degradation; however, information on the magnitude and pace of this degradation is lacking. This study assessed land cover dynamics over the past decades using semistructured interviews and remote sensing analysis. The main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation were identified, and the implications for transboundary natural resource management in this area were ascertained. The annual mangrove deforestation rate was 0.40% (an annual loss of 1014.5 ha), which is twice the global average. The main drivers of forest degradation in the area include population structure and attitude towards mangrove conservation, abusive and illegal wood exploitation, mining activities, commercial farming, poor natural resource governance, post-conflict peacebuilding and reconstruction efforts, insufficient financial and human resources, and poor collaboration between the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments in addressing transboundary issues concerning natural resource management. The situation is exacerbated by the ongoing ‘Anglophone crisis’, which has put all regional efforts towards sustainable development in jeopardy. The authors advocate for strong political will and concrete on-the-ground activities.
The growing popularity of Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (PCCs) in Africa has often been analysed in terms of their characteristics of rupture with traditional religions and kinship, rather than tolerance for other religions, and has been widely discussed in relation to contemporary economic and political dynamics. However, their healing practices, which have opened spaces for religious plurality, have not received sufficient analytical attention despite becoming people’s immediate motivation to join the PCCs. PCCs’ practices are characterised by strong bodily engagement and affectivity. Drawing on empirical cases from Benin, this paper aims to understand the popularity of PCCs and religious plurality from the perspective of healing and affectivity. First, I will explore the healing itineraries of PCCs’ followers in Southern Benin to shed light on their complexity and the role of affects. Second, I will focus on how healing efficacy is felt through PCCs’ religious practices and clarify their material and affective characteristics. Through this analysis, I will discuss how affective healing practices found in PCCs have influenced their growth, as well as the religious plurality of contemporary Africa.
Christians are in the majority in the religious composition of Ethiopia, but the number of Muslims has been increasing in recent years. Historically, Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox) has been the major religion of the highlanders in the north, the political centre of the country. Islam has expanded mainly among the Oromo, living in the lowlands. However, while this dichotomy illustrates the contrasting situation from a broad perspective, religious practices, which are an integral part of people’s lives, are not clearly divided into Islam and Christianity. For instance, many Christians participate in the hadra meeting, originally derived from Islam, which is prevalent in the Oromo communities of the East Showa region. They chant the name of Allah and praise Muslim saints during the ritual. This study focuses on the religious complexity of the ritual and how it relates to ethnicity and local history.