Building an Inclusive TICAD Platform: High-Level Consultation with African Permanent Representatives

December 24, 2023

Her Excellency Ms. Yoko KAMIKAWA highlights Japan’s commitment to African-led solutions and TICAD's unique approach over 30 years in her video message.

Photo: UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

The African continent is facing diverse challenges resulting from economic shocks, insecurity, and climate change. Amidst these adversities also lie opportunities for Africa’s ingenious population, and particularly its talented youth and determined women. Seizing these new opportunities to shape up Africa’s future was at the heart of the High-Level Consultation that gathered Japanese and UN officials and African Ambassadors to the United Nations on 12 December in a unique opportunity to shape up the future of their collaboration through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

Marking 30 years of TICAD, the event was the opportunity for Permanent Representatives to share key development priorities they would like to discuss through TICAD, including the upcoming TICAD Ministerial Meeting in 2024 and TICAD 9 Summit in 2025. Looking beyond policy, they wove together a narrative of hope amid the global crises in our world today.

Opening the session through a dedicated video message, Her Excellency Ms. Yoko KAMIKAWA, Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, emphasized Japan's ongoing commitment to supporting African-led solutions while collaborating with the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and African Member States. She underscored TICAD's unique approach, grounded in African ownership and international partnership over its 30-year history. 

H.E. Mr. Kimihiro ISHIKANE, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN acknowledged the critical year of the 30th anniversary to shape the agenda of TICAD moving forward, while H.E. Mr. Toshihiko HORIUCHI, Director-General and Assistant Minister recognized the need for TICAD’s continued evolution envisioning its transformation as a platform of co-learning and co-creation of innovative solutions.

Representatives from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, and the World Bank, who are co-organizers of TICAD, echoed this sentiment.

Achim Steiner, UNDP’s Administrator, highlighted the significance of these meetings as pivotal moments for African countries in reshaping collaboration between Africa and the global community. He emphasized the significant achievements and results of the TICAD cooperation and the importance of leveraging Africa's opportunities by collaboratively devising solutions to tackle prevailing challenges. Underlining specific initiatives such as UNDP's Climate Promise and Africa Mini-grids Programme, Mr. Steiner underscored how such initiatives represent practical measures to integrate Africa into the global green economy, presenting viable pathways toward sustainable development.

left to right: Achim Steiner, H.E. Mr. Kimihiro ISHIKANE, H.E. Mr. Toshihiko HORIUCHI, H.E. Mr. Chola Milambo, Mr. Salem Matug (Advisor, Political Affairs, Permanent Observer Mission of the AU to the UN)

Photo: UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

Beyond formalities and discussions, what emerged through the unique High-Level Consultation was a shared belief in the power of collaboration and a reiterated commitment to upcoming TICAD events, which are opportunities for African nations to carve their path, asserting their voice and shaping a future where mutual partnerships drive sustainable development and progress.

The main session of the event, moderated by H.E. Mr. Chola Milambo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations, was enriched by contributions from representatives of 15 African member states, underscoring the structural transformation African countries and development partners are fostering. They highlighted the significance of enhancing value in primary products and agricultural goods, addressing the infrastructure deficit in vital sectors like energy and connectivity, harnessing the potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), investing in youth empowerment through entrepreneurship training, narrowing the gender gap in education and training, and formulating strategies to confront the impact of climate change via both adaptation and mitigation measures.

Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, emphasized the imperative of investing in the vast talent and skills inherent in Africa's youth. She highlighted the necessity of fostering a transition toward a green economy by establishing the requisite infrastructure and conducive environment to attract climate financing.

Ahunna Eziakonwa (left), H.E. Mr. Osamu YAMANAKA (right)

Photo: UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

Concluding the session, H.E. Mr. Osamu YAMANAKA, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, expressed appreciation for the invaluable inputs from the African Permanent Representatives. He acknowledged the essence of co-creation and collaboration as fundamental elements within the TICAD platform.

UNDP was represented by the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, together with the TICAD co-organizers represented by H.E. Mr. Kimihiro ISHIKANE, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Japan to the UN, H.E. Mr. Toshihiko HORIUCHI, DG and Assistant Minister, MOFA Japan, Mr. Salem Matug, Advisor, Political Affairs, Permanent Observer Mission of the AU to the UN, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, Director for Policy, Monitoring and Global Advocacy, UNOSAA, and Mr. Farhad Peikar, World Bank Special Representative to the UN.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is a Summit-level international conference on African development initiated by Japan in 1993. The high-level event brings together Heads of State and Government from Africa, Japan, the United Nations, and the World Bank to engage in dialogue on issues related to economic growth, trade and investment, sustainable development, human security, and peace and stability in Africa. The conference is co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the World Bank, and the African Union Commission. The TICAD Ministerial Meeting will be held in 2024 in Tokyo as well as TICAD 9 in 2025 in Yokohama.

Mr. Achim Steiner (left) and H.E. Mr. Kimihiro ISHIKANE at the event

Photo: UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa