De lessen van Oost-Azië voor Afrika

NEW YORK – Van 1 tot 3 juni was Japan gastheer van de vijfde vergadering van de TICAD, de Tokyo International Cooperation on African Development (Internationale Samenwerkingsbijeenkomst van Tokio voor de Ontwikkeling van Afrika). Deze bijeenkomst bracht ons in herinnering dat – terwijl de rest van de wereld geobsedeerd is door de economische problemen van Europa, de politieke verlamming in Amerika en de groeivertraging in China en andere opkomende markten – er nog steeds een regio is (het ten zuiden van de Sahara gelegen deel van Afrika) waar armoede eerder regel is dan uitzondering.

Van 1990 tot 2010 is het aantal mensen dat daar in armoede ($1,25 per dag) leefde, gestegen van minder dan 300 miljoen naar bijna 450 miljoen, terwijl het aantal dat van minder dan $2 per dag moest rondkomen is toegenomen van ongeveer 390 miljoen naar bijna 600 miljoen. Toch is het percentage van degenen die in armoede leefden in deze periode gedaald van 57% naar 49%.

De ontwikkelde landen hebben herhaaldelijk hun beloften over handel of hulp gebroken. Toch is Japan, dat nog steeds kampt met de gevolgen van twee decennia van economische malaise, er op een of andere manier in geslaagd actief betrokken te blijven – niet vanwege strategische belangen, maar om tegemoet te komen aan een echt ethisch imperatief, namelijk dat degenen die het beter hebben degenen die in nood verkeren moeten helpen.

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