Saturday, October 5, 2013

China, Japan and South Korea in East Africa...

In the recent past there have been a number of events cultural or otherwise in Nairobi by three Asian countries namely; China, Japan and South Korea. 

Whereas China has been very active in the recent past given the Africa onslaught clearly laid out in FOCAC. Other Asian countries seem to be following suit with Japan normally a quiet actor in Kenya staging a number of public events which we're choreographed to mark 50 years of diplomatic relationship with Kenya. One of this events which I attended was the Japanese Drum Festival particulars below;
Japanese Drum ‘Taiko’ Concert: To mark 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations, Sept. 17 & 18 2013 @ National TheatreDates: September 17 & 18, 2013
Venue: Kenya National Theatre
Time: Gates Open 5.30 pm for 6 pm
Entry: Free
Occasion: To mark Japan-Kenya 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations
During this occasion the new Japanese ambassador to Kenya gave his speech in presence of the Sports, Arts & Culture Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario and outlined the mutual relations Japan has enjoyed with Kenya. In his speech the ambassador conveyed the sentiments of current Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Embassy staff indicated a number of events at the cultural centre housed within the embassy and a concert at Carnivore. This marks a stack pattern of Japan activities in Nairobi and this can also be viewed also with the summit the Vice President William Ruto attended earlier in the year

South Korea on the other hand has an exhibition running at the National Museum and I was present during the opening where the South Korean Amb. was in attendance and from the government side was a director from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was surprised to say the least to know that Kenya has a sizeable community of South Koreans living in Kenya. In fact their company Samsung has been making tremendous inroads in the smart phone market. Now days, Samsung phones have become a symbol for middle class Kenyan.
Details of the Exhibition
Eunju's Love & Harmony of Kenya
Opening: September 28, 2013 at 2 pm
Venue: National Museum
Exhibition: Runs Until October 24, 2013 Venue: Ecology Gallery, Nairobi National Museum Entry: Museum Rates Apply
The other notable observation was the appointment of Rufftone [Kenyan gospel musician] as South Korean public diplomat. Then, of course there is the GBS TV which is owned by the Koreans and has been airing Korean Pop Music targeted to young stars.  

Questions am Contending With...
  • Is America checking China Influence in Africa by Using Japan & South Korea?
  • Are we witnessing a resilient Japan under the stewardship of PM Abe [checking the influence of China in the continent]. I contend that Japan was seeking to Challenge China way earlier but the earthquake affected that. Now that the crisis back home is over then we should expect a more proactive actor in Africa.
  • Will this overtures change Kenyan Foreign Policy

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