Helen Clark: “20 Years of TICAD and 50 Years of OAU/AU”

Jun 1, 2013

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group
Keynote Speech, Plenary I:
“20 Years of TICAD and 50 Years of OAU”
TICAD V, Yokohama, Japan
8:30am, 1 June 2013

The United Nations Development Programme is pleased to be a co-organiser of TICAD V again, in the twentieth anniversary year of this important process and in this historic year as the African Union and its member states celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity.

These two anniversaries offer opportunities to reflect not only on past achievements, but also on the opportunities to support Africa’s ongoing transformation. 

This is indeed a time of hope for Africa. The continent is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies and levels of human development are rising rapidly.

Africa and the world are more interconnected than ever before through trade, investment, migration, and information and communications technologies. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development launched by the African Union in 2001 has been a driving force for this transformation.

Over the past twenty years, TICAD has evolved to meet Africa’s changing needs. That has been possible because of its commitment both to African ownership of the process and to international partnerships. The African Union Commission’s agreement to join TICAD as a co-organizer further enhances African ownership.

What first began as a forum for dialogue and advocacy for African development, quickly moved to action and then at TICAD IV to a formal follow-up mechanism on commitments made. That helps ensure more effective implementation, transparency and accountability.

Under TICAD IV, concrete initiatives were launched on agriculture, infrastructure and governance, amongst other areas. These initiatives included:

  • the launch of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), which aims to double rice production in Africa from 2008 to 2018;
  • the provision of safe drinking water to millions of people;
  • partnership between Japan and UNDP to support electoral processes in eleven African countries;
  • the $92 million Africa Adaptation Programme (AAP), one of UNDP’s most significant collaborations with Japan under TICAD IV. It has provided support to twenty African countries to build resilience to the effects of climate change, and is a concrete example of how TICAD can help address pressing challenges in Africa. Climate change is surely one of those. A side event on the Africa Adaptation Programme will be held this afternoon.

Just as TICAD has evolved in the past to meet new needs, so it must again, to meet Africa’s current development objectives.

I am confident that the Declaration and Action Plan which emerge from TICAD V here in Yokohama will support inclusive growth and poverty reduction, and sustainable development.

The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes, and high value service industries emerge. Investments in infrastructure are vital, but so are investments in human capital, as fundamentally it is people who drive Africa’s development. The African Union’s focus on empowerment of women and youth potential are especially welcome.

Years of solid economic growth, the endowments of natural resources, and gains in human development and in governance provide a solid foundation for Africa’s transformation agenda. So will increased support for climate change adaptation and mitigation, for building greater resilience to disaster, and for truly sustainable development.

In line with the key themes of TICAD V, effective governance for development, broader empowerment and political participation, and social cohesion will also be important in backing transformation which advances sustainable human development.

UNDP looks forward to working “Hand-in-Hand” with other TICAD co-organizers and the nations of Africa to deepen the contribution the TICAD process makes to accelerating Africa’s development transformation.

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