Tokyo, Japan – The 2018 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Ministerial Meeting concluded its two-day gathering with pledges to sustain the growing momentum in exchanges between Africa and Japan.
The 2,100 participants from 54 African countries, including representatives from international and regional organizations, development partner countries, non-government organizations and the private sector, discussed the latest developments in the region, reviewing advances made towards goals and commitments since the TICAD VI conference in 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Marked by the recent adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area, improved levels of governance (evidenced by increases in the 2017 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance and the 2018 Doing Business Index) and the steady rise in Japan’s business presence in the region (its foreign direct investment in the region has increased fivefold since 2000 and close to 800 Japanese companies are operating in the continent), the ministerial gathering acknowledged both that Africa’s development goals are generating increased opportunities for all parties and that the private sector plays a major role in powering the continent’s structural economic transformation.
The Regional Director for Africa of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, stated: “Africa does not need charity but genuine investments and inclusive businesses that help galvanize economic diversification and industrialization and facilitate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063. In Africa, each of the SDGs offers business opportunities. Leveraging these opportunities is key to facilitating business partnership between Africa and Japanese business actors.”
As a sign of the forum’s expanding areas of interests, various thematic side events were organized: on the role of civil society (organized by Japan Citizen’s Network for TICAD) ; the importance of science, technology and innovation as drivers of Africa’s structural transformation (organized by JICA, the World Bank, and UNDP); the Japan-Africa Business Dialogue (both co- organized by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO) and UNDP).
Assessing progress made since TICAD VI, the ministerial conference hailed positive developments in Eastern Africa; renewed the call to build resilient health systems; and stressed the importance of “quality infrastructure” and connectivity as a cross-cutting enabler for the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the SDGs and exchanges within the continent and between Africa and Japan.
HE. Taro Kono, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan: “Let us remind ourselves that our TICAD process is created by all stakeholders, including co-organizers, participating countries, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector. Transparency and consistency are both key to this process. I would like to underline Japan’s determination to maintain and further develop this unique, transparent, and inclusive TICAD framework in close collaboration with the participating parties.”
TICAD was established 25 years ago to advocate and foster international partnerships for African development under the joint leadership of Japan, the United Nations and the then Global Coalition for Africa. Current co-organizers are Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank (since TICAD III), the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa and, most recently, the African Union Commission (since TICAD V).
The ministerial meeting in Tokyo paves the way for the TICAD 7 which will be held in Yokohama, Japan from 28 to 30 August 2019.
In Tokyo: Chika Kondoh, UNDP Representation Office in Tokyo
In New York: Lamine Bal Lamine Bal