Japan to host African conference

Japan to host African conference

Japan to host African conference

Posted 25 May 2008, 13:11 AEST

Japan will host a major conference on African development this week.

52 African countries have been invited to the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development which Japan hosts every five years along with the United Nations, the World Bank and other organisations.

Japan has long used aid as a key diplomatic tool. It was the world's top donor in 1991, but its overall assistance has been slipping as its debts increased.

But with China and India seeking to forge closer ties with the African continent to secure commodities to fuel their economic booms, the conference is a key opportunity for Japan to maintain its diplomatic clout.

The African continent remains a source of raw materials and potential markets for Japan.

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