Multi-Sectoral Dialogue ahead of TICAD8 discusses emerging priorities and challenges in Africa

Posted June 21, 2022
Assistant Minister, DG of African Affairs Department and the Secretary-General for TICAD8, Mr. YONETANI Koji underscored Japan would continue to support African-led development.

Assistant Minister, DG of African Affairs Department and the Secretary-General for TICAD8, Mr. YONETANI Koji underscored Japan would continue to support African-led development.

UNDP

Since 1993, TICAD co-organizers and partners have discussed topical issues pertinent and aligned to Africa’s development. The agenda of each TICAD summit has evolved over time by adjusting its focus to be most relevant to the development context and opportunities on the continent. For nearly 30 years its five co-organizers; namely the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor for Africa (UNOSAA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, and the African Union Commission (AUC), have engaged African leaders, regional institutions, development partners, international organizations, the UN system, academia, civil society organizations, and the private sector to identify development challenges, prioritize interventions, and explore effective collaboration.

As the world contemplates a pathway to ‘Build Back Better’ following the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth TICAD (TICAD 8) will be held on 27-28 August this year.

Africa’s current development challenges have been exacerbated and made more urgent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it imperative for the international community to re-think approaches and solutions to address these challenges. Across Africa, the pandemic has negatively impacted economies, reversed development gains, worsened inequalities and heightened societal vulnerabilities. The post-COVID phase is an opportune moment to build stronger, fairer, smarter, and more sustainable countries and societies. The value of TICAD as a platform to set a pathway for inclusive, sustainable, and resilient growth is more important than ever in the context of the African countries trying to ‘Build Back Better’ from the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.

Due to travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministerial Meeting in the lead-up to the TICAD8 Summit was, for the first time since its inception, held virtually on 26 - 27 March 2022. Participation was limited to African government representatives and TICAD co-organizers to ensure smooth and efficient deliberations for TICAD8. Against this backdrop, a separate Multi-Sectoral Dialogue was co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and UNDP on 5April 2022 as a side-event to share the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting and obtain the views of diversified stakeholders engaged in African development.

Aligned with the concept of the TICAD Ministerial Meeting, the Multi-Sectoral Dialogue discussed emerging priorities and challenges by looking ahead to the post-COVID-19 era and focused on the following three thematic areas.

Theme 1: Achieving sustainable and inclusive growth with reduced economic inequalities

Theme 2: Realizing sustainable and resilient society based on human security

Theme 3: Building sustainable peace and stability through supporting Africa’s own efforts

 

Opening the meeting, Assistant Minister, Director-General of African Affairs Department and the Secretary-General for TICAD8, Mr. YONETANI Koji provided an overview of the outcomes of the Ministerial Meeting.

Mr. Yonetani underscored that given the considerable socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Africa, Japan, together with other partners, would continue to support African-led development and the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on “people” and “quality growth” based on the principles of human security.

“Many countries during the Ministerial Meeting pointed out the indispensable role of the private sector and private investment for building back better from the pandemic. Japan will continue to make concrete efforts to promote private investments in Africa, including through leveraging digital technology,” he said.

He added that equitable access to vaccines and other essential medical supplies, as well as the issue of strengthening Africa’s own production capacity were among key concerns raised by African Ministers. Mr. Yonetani underscored that Japan would continue to promote efforts in the health sector in Africa.

Climate change was also among the global issues raised, Mr. Yonetani noted, given the evolving threat it poses to the region. In response, Japan reaffirmed its commitment to supporting Africa’s efforts to address climate change while utilizing Japanese technology. “In fact, we believe the green economy can be a new driving force for African development in coming years,” he stressed.

On peace and stability, African countries pointed to the importance of continuously working on the consolidation of democracy on the continent, bolstering the rule of law, and expanding capacity building in the field of peace building. The need to promote the humanitarian development and peace nexus as well as actively engaging youth and women in conflict prevention and resolution were also highlighted during the ministerial discussions.

Representatives from 81 organizations (14 UN agencies, 4 RECs, 3 African regional organizations, 8 international organizations, 4 development agencies, 23 private corporations, 23 NGOs, and 2 associations) actively participated in the Dialogue and 193 participants from Japan and Africa observed the session.

Participants raised a number of challenges and opportunities to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth with reduced economic inequalities on the African continent. These included transforming the food system, which was seen as an integral part of inclusive economic transformation. Furthermore, participants re-iterated the need for strengthening sustainable agricultural productivity and food chains, as well as the need for greater investment in a developing resilient market infrastructure.

Social protection and youth employment featured prominently during the discussions as key tools to combat poverty and reduce economic inequalities, while also being vital to enhancing political stability and social cohesion. There were concerns expressed that social protection coverage remained limited in Africa especially in the informal economy and that workers across Africa have insufficient access to decent work.

Turning to the lack of access to energy, it was highlighted that despite an abundance of energy resources such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal that have the potential to create significant opportunities, millions of Africans remain without a steady supply of power. It was noted that innovative financing was critical to transform the current power shortages across the continent. Participants also reflected on the importance of accelerating innovative and digital solutions not only in the smart manufacturing sector, but also smart energy to application or social immobility, health management of natural waste among many others.

They also emphasized the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the need for countries and regions to build value chains at national, regional and continental levels to reduce vulnerabilities to shocks associated with fluctuations, global market prices and health. It was suggested that the successful implementation of AfCFTA would have positive knock-on effects, such as combatting unemployment, poverty, malnutrition as well as contribute to an improvement in access to health care systems.

In considering how to realize sustainable and resilient societies based on human security, participants drew attention to the impact of climate change in the region, which compounded existing socio-economic challenges. There were concerns raised about the lack of climate resilience for public services, the lack of infrastructure to adapt to climate change, food production shortages and loss of biodiversity. Promoting a green transition with low carbon, climate resilient and nature-based solutions, and climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation though public private partnership was considered fundamental to tackling the impact of climate change across the continent.

A recurring theme throughout the thematic discussion was the potential of the youth demographic in Africa – among the highest in the world – with participants highlighting that investment in human capital is essential for inclusive and resilient recovery

Among the key areas for intervention was the education sector and initiatives to expand children’s opportunities and human capital development including investment needed for higher education and vocational skills. It was noted that development of health infrastructure and equipment would need to be coupled with human resource development of healthcare workers.

Participants acknowledged that the pandemic reversed many hard-won gains in fight against HIV, TB and malaria and expressed appreciation to Japan for its contribution to the seventh replenishment for the Global Fund to raise at least US$18 billion to fight HIV, TB and malaria and build stronger systems for health.

Another key focus area for participants during the Dialogue was an exchange of views on building sustainable peace and stability through supporting Africa’s own efforts.

Participants heard that there has been a systematic shift in how peace and security are conceptualized in Africa and how multisectoral partnerships should consider the existing continental, regional, national and local strategies that are available as the vehicle in which peace and security challenges should be thought through. Similarly, in order to overcome humanitarian crises, it is essential for humanitarian actors to work with development actors including the private sector. There was recognition that African countries spearheaded some of the most progressive legal frameworks, such as Africa Union convention for refugees and the protection and assistance for the internally displaced persons in Africa. Free and transparent elections through election management, as well as building monitoring and observation mechanisms were paramount to consolidating democracy and realizing good governance.

Towards the end of the dialogue, reflections were provided from representatives of NGOs and private sector from Africa and Japan.

Civil society participants expressed that the TICAD process should be ‘people centred’, adding that their active participation is critical to the success of TICAD as well as to the ongoing efforts by African countries to rebuild post-COVID19, so that the continent can achieve the 2030 agenda.

Civil society representatives however remarked that while the diverse participation of international organizations and non-state actors, especially African civil society enabled a powerful and active discussion to demonstrate the progress and challenges of Africa's development, the exchange would have benefited from a wider participation of African diaspora, Africa's private sector, especially small-and-medium scale enterprises and philanthropic organizations in the exchange.

Participants representing the private sector re-iterated the importance of supporting development efforts being made in Africa. They encouraged the business sector from Japan to support the development of the ‘green economy’, agribusiness, logistics and connectivity, as well as digital transformation. There was recognition of the potential of Japanese investments in Africa is exponentially increase in coming years, especially in the automotive, health and pharmaceutical sectors.

Private sector representatives concluded by emphasizing the need to channel greater investment toward capacity building in government and private sector development in Africa to enhance accountability and transparency in business operations.

 

For the full report of the meeting:

https://www.jp.undp.org/content/dam/tokyo/docs/Newsroom/news/2022/Final_Report_Multi%20Sectoral%20Dialogue%20for%20TICAD8%205th%20April%202022.pdf