Africa
Address by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
at the Opening Session of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development
(TICAD VI)

(Saturday, August 27, 2016)

(Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Kenya)

August 27, 2016
Japanese
French (PDF)Open a New Window

Your Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I say hello to you all.

At long last, and exactly as promised, TICAD has come to Africa!

With 23 years behind us, TICAD is now on African soil, opening a new chapter in the relationship between Japan and African countries.

Throughout the continent, I cannot but think that we are witnessing a “quantum leap.”

To settle your financial transactions all you need is your phone. That is a service on the forefront of "fintech."

Take a look, also, at the ID card that is spreading in many countries. With this, you can get social security payments directly.

Today, Africa has leapfrogged over legacy technologies and aims at cutting-edge quality.
It is little wonder that an increasing number of young people from Japan find Africa intriguing and want to be a part of it.

Take, for example, “AfricaScan.”

It is a company launched in Nairobi by some young people who happened to get to know each other -- a Japanese woman who had worked in Senegal as a member of the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, or “JOCV,” a Japanese man who had obtained his MBA at Harvard Business School, and a man who grew up in Kenya.

Visit one of the retail shops they run, known as "Blue Spoon Kiosks," you will see there is an innovative service offered free of charge. You can have your blood pressure checked.

Ms. Kasumi Sawada, if you are here, could you perhaps stand up? Ladies and gentlemen, this is the young, former JOCV, Japanese entrepreneur, who is now running AfricaScan.

This continent has fostered a large number of JOCVs. And this same continent has now become the stage for young Japanese entrepreneurs such as her to pursue their dreams. Thank you so much, Ms. Sawada. Please take your seat.

Africa is now off and running, aiming at long-range goals, aspiring to be a certain kind of continent with certain kinds of countries in 2063.

Agenda 2063 -- the grandness of this concept, to the best of my knowledge, is simply unparalleled.

However, the enormous continent of Africa has given no permanent member to the United Nations Security Council. Agenda 2063 states clearly that by 2023, it will rectify this situation. Please accept my complete support on this point.

You in Africa have a right as a matter of course to demand that the international community better reflect your views. Africa should send a permanent member to the United Nations Security Council by 2023 at the very latest.

Reform of the United Nations Security Council is truly a goal that Japan and Africa hold in common. I call on everyone here to walk together towards achieving it. Can I have your approval of that?

Over the recent past, Africa has not been free from tragedy.

Ebola virus disease claimed over 10,000 lives.

Some countries are troubled by the plunge in the price of commodities, while in other nations, peace has been shattered.

I should nonetheless ask: Will Africa simply stop moving forward?

To the vast landmass of Africa blessed by the sunshine no "-ism" is more unsuited than pessimism. Am I not right?

Whatever problems there are in Africa, they are quite simply there to be solved, period.

And Japan is a country that ardently hopes to resolve the issues facing Africa together with Africa, and will not let up in its efforts.

We want to indulge in as much vitality and self-confidence as we can from you, when you are moving forward with your eyes firmly fixed on the future. That is why some 70 Japanese companies have sent executives here to TICAD. The Chairman of Keidanren, Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, also is with us. It is almost as if the entire Who’s Who in the Japanese business world has come to join us here at TICAD.

We have a feeling in our gut that in Africa, where possibilities abound, Japan can grow vigorously. Japanese companies can grow vigorously.

It is Japanese companies that are committed to quality. Theirs is a manufacturing philosophy that holds each individual worker in high esteem.

Our hunch is that the time has come to make the best of Japan's capabilities, Japanese companies' capabilities, for the advancement of Africa, where you seek nothing but quality in your socio-economic development. We must not let a good opportunity slip away. I declare to you that we will launch the “Japan-Africa Public and Private Economic Forum” as a permanent forum.

Members of the Japanese Cabinet, together with top executives from Japan’s major business associations and corporations, will visit Africa once every three years. They will meet with their African counterparts to pinpoint issues from the vantage point of businesses, identifying what needs to be done to enable Japanese and African companies to do more business together going forward. This makes it a forum bringing the power of the public and private sectors together to forge solutions.

Kenya and Japan will sign an investment agreement during my visit here. We will also be initiating negotiations on a tax treaty.

This will be followed by consultations on investment agreements to be launched with Cote d'Ivoire. Many more are expected in the future.

This year as TICAD takes place here on African soil, right now as a growing number of young people and companies from Japan pin their expectations on the future of Africa, the partnership connecting Japan and Africa has entered, really, a mutually beneficial stage.

Japan's pledges I am introducing now will also benefit both of us, Africa and Japan.

The pledges my government announced three years ago in Yokohama still have two years remaining before they fall due, and yet 67 percent of them have already been carried out.

Today’s new pledges enhance and further expand upon those launched three years ago. The motif here is “Quality and Empowerment,” which reflects the outcomes of the G7 Summit Japan hosted this year in a place called Ise-Shima.

Last year we saw agreement reached on the SDGs, and at COP21 succeeded in making progress. It was projected that TICAD VI would be the first major international conference on African development following those.

Right in the interim was it planned to hold the G7 Summit. "I must use it as an opportunity to help advance Africa." That was what was in my mind. And hence brought forth was the motif "Quality and Empowerment."

Under the same motif, the G7 Summit also emphasized that the key to empowering Africa rests in the provision of health care. We made a compilation of the actions underway in this field in recent years and set forth a vision that puts the future direction into sharp focus. I will return to this point later on in my remarks.

Allow me here to add to the word “Africa” the three modifiers of “quality,” “resilient” and “stable.” That is precisely the form of Africa that Japan will aim for, working together with you.

A “quality Africa” will be built through the three elements of infrastructure, human resources, and “kaizen.”

Infrastructure includes electrical power and also urban transport systems. For developing resources, and also for increasing the connectivity of the whole of Africa, it will be necessary to develop roads and ports.

This must be nothing other than “quality infrastructure.” At the G7 Summit we were united in our determination in this regard. This point was detailed in the “G7 Ise-Shima Principles for Promoting Quality Infrastructure Investment.”

Taking the initiative, Japan will appropriate approximately 10 billion US dollars to Africa over the next 3 years for building infrastructure. A portion of this will be executed through cooperation with the African Development Bank.

Electric generating capacity is expected to increase by 2000 megawatts. What is promising is geothermal power generation that can make use of Japanese technologies. Generating capacity from geothermal sources should provide enough to cover the demand from 3 million households in 2022.

Next, human resources.

Under the “ABE Initiative,” the number of future executives from Africa who have studied in Japan will soon reach a thousand.

Now we will introduce a new pillar to the ABE Initiative.

We want to foster future foremen and plant managers -- leaders at worksites. Over three years, the Initiative will foster roughly 1500 people.

Japan has a higher education system called “KOUSEN” specializing in fostering engineers. We will bring this system to Africa.

By 2018, we wish to have raised a total of 30 thousand people to be the human resources supporting the foundations of industry. Our aim is to cultivate these people by combining the forces of both Japan and Africa.

The final element is “kaizen,” which you are already familiar with.

“Kaizen” enhances productivity and decreases defective goods through the initiatives and ingenuity of the people working on the production line. The common philosophy running through this is trust in each individual worker. It is a philosophy and a method born in Japan.

Japan will cooperate with NEPAD to spread “kaizen” all throughout Africa.

We will aim to increase by 30 percent the productivity of factories where “kaizen” is introduced.

This is not impossible. In Ethiopia, there is a shoe manufacturer called Peacock Shoe that received training in “kaizen” 17 times, resulting in daily production jumping from 500 pairs of shoes a day to 800 -- a 60 percent increase.

A “resilient Africa” is one that does not capitulate to illness.

When a public health emergency like Ebola occurs, two things matter: to have preparedness in the local areas, and for the entire international community to confront it.

Japan will foster experts and policy professionals that will combat infectious diseases, for a total of 20 thousand people over 3 years.

At the G7 Summit, Japan set forth a contribution plan for the field of health. More than 500 million US dollars of that will be channeled through organizations such as the Global Fund and the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) in order to strengthen Africa’s health systems and counter infectious diseases. In doing so, we expect to save the lives of more than 300 thousand people.

Of course, promoting Universal Health Coverage, or “UHC,” is the foundation for everything.

In order to press ahead with UHC, we will select countries to serve as models and provide assistance intensively to those model countries, and then, using them as a doorway to further efforts, we will work to have UHC expand elsewhere. The goal will be to increase the population benefiting from fundamental health services by 2 million people over the next 3 years. We will of course work together with international organizations in promoting UHC.

I will also mention that we will launch the Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa, or “IFNA.” With nutrition being the very foundation of health, this is a measure we will advance jointly with NEPAD.

A “stable Africa” is one that goes all out to bring about peace and build the foundations for security.

Through the cooperation of the Government of Kenya, members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are currently in the outskirts of Nairobi training military engineering personnel on how to operate earth movers.

Once a conflict ends and nation building begins, progress cannot be made unless people are able to operate heavy machinery. The members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are working hard, fully aware that their activities are to boost the capacities of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

The very first time Japan’s Self-Defense Forces were engaged in PKO in Africa was in Mozambique in 1993, the same year in which the TICAD process started.

It is the trust that the SDFs have built up since then that has made the job of human resource development possible. For Japan, which bears the flag of “Proactive Contribution to Peace based on the principle of international cooperation,” this is a very gratifying development.

A “stable Africa” is also one in which young people have both self-efficacy and self-esteem.

In order to cultivate self-confidence and dreams in young people, Japan would like to provide vocational training to 50 thousand people over the next 3 years.

To bring about a quality, resilient, and stable Africa, Japan will empower, in other words, implement human resource development for 10 million people over three years beginning in 2016.

When combined with investment from the private sector, I expect the total will amount to 30 billion US dollars. This is an investment that has faith in Africa’s future, an investment for both Japan and Africa to grow together.

In the 23 years since the TICAD process began, the total amount of ODA to Africa that Japan has carried out amounts to 47 billion US dollars. Joined by Japan's private sector, the Africa-Japan relationship is poised to aim at an even higher peak.

When you cross the seas of Asia and the Indian Ocean and come to Nairobi, you then understand very well that what connects Asia and Africa is the sea lanes.

What will give stability and prosperity to the world is none other than the enormous liveliness brought forth through the union of two free and open oceans and two continents.

Japan bears the responsibility of fostering the confluence of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and of Asia and Africa into a place that values freedom, the rule of law, and the market economy, free from force or coercion, and making it prosperous.

Japan wants to work together with you in Africa in order to make the seas that connect the two continents into peaceful seas that are governed by the rule of law. That is what we wish to do with you.

The winds that traverse the ocean turn our eyes to the future.

The supply chain is already building something quite like an enormous bridge between Asia and Africa, providing industrial wisdom. The population in Asia living in democracies is more numerous than that of any other region on earth.

Asia has enjoyed growth on the basis of the democracy, rule of law, and market economy that has taken root there. It is my wish that the self-confidence and sense of responsibility spawned there as a result come to envelop the entirety of Africa together with the gentle winds that blow here.

Let us make this stretch that is from Asia to Africa a main artery for growth and prosperity. Let us advance together, Africa and Japan, sharing a common vision.

The future abounds with blazes of bright colors. We are poised to hear the intense yet refreshing beat of the drums. My African friends, let us continue to walk forward together, believing in the potential that the future holds.

Thank you very much.