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  • 執筆者の写真Hiroshige FUJII

2-year experience in Ethiopia

M2 Reona FUKUHARA


Between March 2022 and March 2024, I worked as a researcher at the Mission of Japan to the African Union in Ethiopia for two years. In this article, I would like to share my experiences during those two years.

     The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organization of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999). In order to build up a diplomatic relationship with the AU, Japan established the Mission of Japan to the AU in 2018. The Mission’s primary focus is on partnerships with the AU, such as TICAD, and gathering the latest information on peace and security, as well as economic issues in Africa. Although the AU is guided by its vision of “An Integrated, Prosperous and Peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”, there is always a question on what integrated Africa is and how they are making one voice in this continent.

    In order to deepen my understanding of the AU, with guidance from my colleagues, I collected information on current hot topics in Africa and the AU. As I was in charge of human rights, peace, and security, I sometimes attended a diplomatic conference and briefing on women/youth, peace, and security organized by the AU. Through participating in those meetings, I could grasp the current situation, and other diplomas who attended a meeting kindly shared what African Member States were doing at the forum of the AU. By doing so, I was able to get the latest information before the official press release, and it helped HQ to decide on an action to take as soon as possible. 


(at the AU Main Hall)


Not only did I acquire job experience, but I also had the chance to spend personal time with my colleagues and friends. As Ethiopia was in a period of reconstruction after the conflict in the North area, many Japanese companies and JICA launched their businesses and projects in Ethiopia. Thanks to this, I was able to meet many people with different career backgrounds. It enabled me to expand my perspective on my career and perspective.

I also enjoyed traveling around the continent and visited five African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia, and Seychelles. South Africa is one of my favorite countries to visit. I highly recommend visiting Table Mountain, one of the most iconic landmarks in South Africa and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Town.



(View from top of the mountain)

     

This experience made my perspective broader and made me more mature. Although there were many things that I could not achieve, it is going to be my next goal in my career. I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues, friends, and professors who supported me a lot, either from Japan or Ethiopia. Amsegnalew (Thank you)!

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