Japan, Uganda at a historical turning point - Japan foreign minister

Aug 02, 2023

Hayashi says it is my hope to further promote business and investment in Uganda, which continues to enjoy steady economic growth.

Yoshimasa Hayashi, Foreign Minister of Japan is visiting Uganda today.

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Yoshimasa Hayashi, Foreign Minister of Japan is visiting Uganda. Below is his write-up about his visit.

I'm visiting Uganda today (August 2) for the first time as a Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs. I have long looked forward to visiting this beautiful country, often known as the “Pearl of Africa,” and it is my great pleasure to visit Uganda this time.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was launched by Japan ahead of other countries to discuss Africa’s development, and at the eighth conference, TICAD 8, held last August, Japan expressed its firm aspiration to cooperate with Africa as a “partner growing together with Africa” to realize resilient Africa that Africa itself aims to achieve.

Why am I visiting Uganda at this time? It is no coincidence. This year, as the G7 presidency, Japan attaches great importance to listening directly to the “voice” of Africa. 

I also would like to exchange views on various issues facing the international community and discuss in detail how our two countries can cooperate with each other by visiting Uganda, which is located at a strategic point connecting Indian Ocean coastal states and central inland African countries.

The international community is now at a historical turning point. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has had a major impact, especially on Africa, with a food crisis and soaring fertilizer prices. 

In addition, the international community needs to work together to effectively address the various challenges it faces, such as climate change, energy, and opaque and unfair development finance.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not only a matter of European security, but also an outrage that shakes the foundations of the international order. 

Today’s Ukraine may be tomorrow’s East Asia or Africa. It could happen anywhere in the world. I would like to share this sense of crisis with the people of Uganda.

Japan also deplores that Russia has decided to unilaterally terminate the Black Sea Grains Initiative (BSGI). 

The BSGI was an important initiative that contributed to food price stability and global food security by delivering food to countries and regions in need. 

I hope that Uganda will join us in urging Russia to return to the international framework and resume grain export from Ukraine.

It is a clear responsibility and interest of all nations to uphold international law and maintain international order. 

Japan, together with African countries including Uganda, is willing to protect a free and open international order based on the rule of law.

Turning to bilateral relations, Japan has been cooperating with Uganda in various areas including the infrastructure sector since the country’s independence. 

A good example is the construction of the Nile Bridge on the “Northern Corridor,” an international major transport corridor in East Africa that links the port of Mombasa, Kenya, to Uganda and then to Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to improve connectivity between Indian Ocean coastal states and Central African countries.

As expressed at TICAD 8, Japan places emphasis on the notice of “investment in people,” as evidenced by its support for Nakawa Vocational Training College for over 50 years and its current technical cooperation in human resource development in the field of ICT.

In addition, to improve food security in Uganda and increase Ugandan farmers’ income, Japan has been supporting the promotion of rice production, especially the spread of the NERICA (New Rice for Africa) rice, a crossbreed of high-yielding Asian rice and disease- and weed-resistant African rice. 

Cooperation in this area has become even more important today, as ensuring food security has become an increasingly important issue due to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. 

Through this cooperation, Japan will continue to contribute to Uganda’s economic and social development.

In 2021, a Ugandan company won a business plan competition sponsored by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and other organizations. 

The company offers a portable ultrasound diagnostic device that can detect risk factors for maternal mortality. While African start-ups are attracting global attention, Japanese businesses have grown interest in Ugandan start-ups. 

It is my hope to further promote business and investment in Uganda, which continues to enjoy steady economic growth.

Through this visit to Uganda, I would like to discuss frankly with my colleagues in Uganda, the keystone of peace and stability in East Africa, the further development of bilateral relations between Japan and Uganda and the various challenges facing the international community in order to strengthen cooperation between our two countries.

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