International partners in Cameroon renew their pledge to accelerate Africa’s development
Yaoundé, Cameroon, 6 May – A large gathering of international development partners drew to a close here yesterday, committing to end poverty and boost Africa’s development efforts until and beyond 2015.
Hosted by the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philémon Yang, the ministerial meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD) will lead to the acceleration of an action plan, unveiled last year in Yokohama, which aims to promote sustainable development, inclusive and resilient societies, and peace and stability across the continent.
Together, delegates from Japan, including the Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, representatives from African countries and multilateral organizations, reviewed TICAD’s achievements in recent years. The Head of UNDP Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, attended the event and chaired a panel on Africa and the post-2015 development agenda.
Programmes under TICAD include the creation of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) that has increased the production of rice in Africa since 2008; provision of safe drinking water for millions of women and men; support for climate adaptation efforts in 20 countries; training of peacekeepers in Ghana and North Africa; and support for governance and elections across the continent.
Participants at the meeting recognized Africa’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the eight internationally-agreed objectives to fight poverty, hunger, disease and environmental degradation by 2015. They also called on African countries to make a decisive push on the lagging targets and indicators.
Speaking of the post-2015 development agenda, delegates reiterated the importance of the collaboration between Africa, Japan and development partners. They added the continent’s development priorities, such as economic diversification and inclusive growth, must be reflected in the emerging post-2015 development agenda.
Delegates took part in a series of thematic discussions on some of the most important priorities facing Africa. Examining the continent’s record on food security, they discussed ways of making agriculture more attractive to young women and men and said increased investments in human capital and markets were required, as well as efforts to make sure agricultural development benefits the most vulnerable.
The role of women and youth in development was another important topic of discussion. Participants focused on the importance of education, job creation and entrepreneurship, while highlighting the role of women in peace processes and political decision-making. Around 65 percent of Africa's population is under the age of 35 – making it the youngest continent in the world.
The African Union (AU), the Government of Japan, the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UNOSAA), the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are the co-organizers of TICAD.