Short-term focus, long-term fuzzy.
Like the labyrinthine streets of host city Addis Ababa, this year’s summit has tested for both security and financing projects. The Ethiopian government is building a light railway system in the capital and its excavation works are adding to the congestion caused by the AU summit. The AU is trying to build an African Standby Force to give it diplomatic and military authority, and also an independent financial base to deal with crises such as those in Central African Republic, South Sudan and Mali. At the rate of progress, Addis Ababa will get its railway long before the AU gets its army and extra money.
Japanese interest is worrying the China.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s state tour to Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique and Ethiopia in early January was only the third official visit by a serving Japanese premier to take in several African countries at once: in 2001, Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori travelled to a number of countries on the continent, as did Junichiro Koizumi in 2006. This time round, in Abidjan, Abe hosted 13 heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States. In August, he was in Djibouti as part of a Middle East tour. Yet both its timing and its intent was most striking about Abe’s January visit to sub-Saharan Africa.