In Yokohama, a show of support for Africa’s development agenda as Japan pledges US$32 billion
Yokohama - As the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) drew to a close, leaders from 50 African countries and international partners vowed to work hand in hand to deliver quality growth and sustainable development to Africa.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his country would contribute US$32 billion to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies and promoting inclusive and resilient societies.
The public and private funds are expected to help the continent in areas including trade, infrastructure and private sector development, health, agriculture and agro-processing.
They include US$1 billion in development, humanitarian and security assistance for the Sahel region and an initiative to help tens of thousands of Africans find jobs.
Delegates at the closing ceremony of TICAD issued the Yokohama Declaration. The document calls on African countries to unleash the continent's business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.
Under the Action Plan issued on Monday, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.
The declaration and action plan concluded three days of reflections on the economic and development achievements of the African continent since 1993 and challenges over the next five years.
“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge,” said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.
UNDP was a co-organizer of TICAD V along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).
During the forum, the Administrator moderated a high-level discussion on gender equality and the empowerment of women, with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Heads of UN Agencies and African Heads of State as panelists, and echoed a call from Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, to “see women as the greatest opportunity to unleash the full potential of the continent.”
At a side event on climate adaptation, Helen Clark, President of Burkina Faso Blaise Compaoré and Masaji Matsuyama, Parliamentary Senior Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, said effective policies to reduce climate vulnerability were key to building sustainable development plans.
The event drew lessons from the Africa Adaptation Programme, a continent-wide scheme to help nations on the continent design and implement more effective climate adaptation measures.
The programme has for instance helped to install weather stations across Burkina Faso, set up a Climate Change Department within the Government of Mauritius and strengthen early warning systems to reduce climate-related disasters in Ghana.
Participants at the forum also agreed that building resilience to disasters and climate change will not only protect the fruits of development in Africa, but is also necessary to further propel inclusive growth in the continent.
“As Japan painfully experienced in 2011, disasters are perhaps the most urgent threat to human security and development. Climate change is only going to make things worse,” Prime Minister Abe said. “Japan is committed to supporting African countries and communities as they strive to build resilience.”
Since 1993, TICAD has played a critical role in raising global awareness of African development issues and providing strategic leadership on development assistance to Africa. Over the past 20 years, the partnership has evolved from a high-level discussion forum to a platform for action.
Toshiya Nishigori, Public Affairs Specialist, UNDP Japan
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Christina LoNigro, Press Secretary and Communications Advisor, Office of the Administrator
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