The Africa Report: 16 January

EWN’s Africa Correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news

Japanese Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe has been called a troublemaker by China's Ambassador Xie Xiaoyan

SINO -JAPANESE RIVALRY SPILLS OVER INTO AFRICA

The African continent is finding itself at the centre of an age-old rivalry between Japan and China.

Just one day after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe addressed the African Union (AU), the Chinese ambassador has called him the biggest troublemaker in Asia.

China's ambassador Xie Xiaoyan accused Abe of starting trouble in Asia and said he could not be trusted.

On Tuesday, Abe reached his final destination on his three-country trip around Africa.

He visited Mozambique, the Ivory Coast, and Ethiopia.

During his address to the AU, Abe pledged private sector loans worth $2 billion.

This, the first visit from a Japanese prime minister in eight years, is seen as a push back against the dominant Chinese influence on the continent.

Meanwhile, the tension between the Chinese and Japanese has worsened as a result of Abe's recent visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, disputed islands, and the fall back from the Second Sino-Japan War.

Added to this is competition for air routes and maritime rules.

MALAWIAN PRESIDENT RISKS CORRUPTION CRACKDOWN

In a bid to encourage foreign aid, Malawian President Joyce Banda has ordered a forensic audit into corruption dating back to 2005.

Banda is acknowledged globally for her work in seeding out corruption in her impoverished country, having sacked her entire cabinet because of a scandal in 2013.

Additionally, 30 politicians accused of corruption will be going on trial in February.

The ordered audit is an attempt by Banda to persuade foreign donors to release at least $150 million in aid which was frozen due to the extent of corruption in Malawi.

This move by Banda is a political risk as elections take place in May.

TUNISIA CELEBRATES THIRD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARAB SPRING

Both Islamists and secular Tunisians came out in the thousands to celebrate the third anniversary of the Arab Spring on Tuesday.

The January 2011 Arab Spring saw ousted Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali flee the country, inspiring uprisings in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria.

Three years later, Tunisia is said to be at the final stage of its democratic transition.

As agreed, Prime Minster Ali Larayedh of the moderate Islamic Ennahda stepped down on Thursday, making way for the secular Mehdi Jomaa.

However, political assassinations continue to mar the transition and tourism, which is Tunisia's main source of income, remains in need of revival.