Tunisia: Japan’s African Development Forum Overshadowed by Local and Regional Rows

by | Aug 30, 2022 | Diplomacy, Economic, Tunisia


In late-August 2022, Tunisia hosted the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Japan’s Africa-wide development forum held intermittently since 1993. Discussions at the gathering were closely guarded, though a key announcement from Japan to provide $100 million in COVID-19 recovery assistance to Tunisia was noteworthy. The TICAD gathering in Tunis was accompanied locally by significant outcry over the perceived “white-washing” of Tunisia’s economic conditions and the diplomatic issues resulting from President Kais Saied’s invitation to a leader of the Polisario Front – the Western Sahara-based group seeking independence from Morocco.


TICAD came and went with little discussion or impact locally beyond some frustrations over the traffic disruptions as diplomats were shuttled around the city. Outrage over “white-washing” of the capital city with fresh paint and potted flowers was short lived and, while the diplomatic row with Morocco continues, the majority of Tunisians seem largely unconcerned. In the short and medium term, the reshuffling of North African diplomatic relationships between Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia may be the most significant develop to follow as it unfolds.