The effectiveness of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in advancing technical cooperation between Zimbabwe and Japan (1980 – 2012)
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This study examines the effectiveness of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as an implementing agency of the government of Japan in advancing technical cooperation between Zimbabwe and Japan (1980-2012) to normalize relations. The study employs the qualitative methodology to discover the underlying motives using context specific settings and the perspective of the social actors themselves on Zimbabwe-Japan‟s technical cooperation. During the decade of socio-economic and political challenges (1998-2008), Zimbabwe was isolated from mainstream international development by the international community. Zimbabwe-Japan relations slumped in 2000 when Japan suspended technical cooperation except for humanitarian aid as the West had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe following the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). Zimbabwe adopted the Look East Policy as China willingly stepped in to fill the foreign aid gap left by the West. Japan‟s policies have always been made within the framework of US hegemony. Indeed, JICA‟s technical cooperation has been constrained by the Zimbabwe-Japan diplomatic tiff. Zimbabwe‟s prospects of developing are shaped by a range of issues from domestic governance and politics to externally driven issues such as foreign aid. Therefore technical assistance is an indispensable tool for Japan to co-exist and prosper with the rest of the world including Zimbabwe. Unique to Japan among the industrialized powers, Official Development Assistance (ODA) constitutes its chief foreign policy instrument given her constitutional constraints on military engagement. Japan‟s technical assistance is founded on the core principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states. JICA as a bilateral aid agency mediates between Japan and Zimbabwe‟s for preference alignment since all technical cooperation progammes require some agreement for them to be implemented. Thus JICA‟s technical cooperation has significant power to encourage economic growth in Zimbabwe and Japan as well as deepening mutual relations. Japan employs the carrot and stick policy on its technical assistance to Zimbabwe by encouraging the inclusive government‟s efforts towards democratization. The analysis suggest that Zimbabwe-Japan‟s technical cooperation is heavily influenced by the two countries own historical background, development trajectories, international events in the increasingly crowded and ever changing international system, amongst others. Japan seeks to establish a more significant presence in Zimbabwe as reinforced by JICA‟s focus on infrastructure, agriculture and basic social services. Zimbabwe-Japan‟s technical cooperation is a mixed bag of win-win approach and the metropolis and satellite relations which can be viewed broadly as a function of the interplay between economic power and asymmetric interdependence on the one hand and culture and diplomacy on the other.