Keynote Speech by Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan
on the Occasion of the Asia-Africa Business Summit
on April 22, Friday, 2005
At Mulia Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia
Mr. Mohamad S. Hidayat, President of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
Mr. John A. Prasetio, Chair of the Session,
Distinguished participants from both Asia and Africa,
Ladies and gentlemen,
(Significance of Strengthening Asia-Africa Business Relations)
It is my great pleasure that the Asia-Africa Business Summit was successfully held on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the 1955 Bandung Conference. I am also delighted to know that the participants had fruitful discussions with a view to realizing greater prosperity and strengthening relations between Asia and Africa.
Over the past half-century, Japan has enjoyed prosperity together with neighboring Asian countries by establishing close economic ties through various exchanges including trade and investment. Economic relations between Asia and Africa have also been growing dramatically in the recent years. In fact, Africa's exports to Asia have more than doubled in the past decade.
"The New Asian-African Strategic Partnership," which is currently under discussion at the Asia-Africa Summit, emphasizes the need to strengthen economic ties along with political cooperation between the two regions. Now is the time for Asia and Africa to enhance the inter-continental cooperation even further through efforts of both the public and private sectors.
(Japan's Contribution to Promoting Trade and Investment in/between Asia and Africa)
In order to enhance Asia-Africa cooperation, Japan, as a member of Asia, hopes that the prosperity of East Asia including ASEAN countries will fuel progress in economic development in Asia and Africa at large and cooperative relations between the two continents. This is the reason why Japan is not seeking simply conclusion of free trade agreements (FTA) with neighboring Asian countries but establishment of a comprehensive economic partnership that incorporates mutual cooperation in such areas as socio-economic systems and human resource development.
As for cooperation with Africa, Japan has been promoting the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process for more than a decade and supporting Africa's development efforts as a partner. Putting an emphasis on the promotion of trade and investment in particular, Japan hosted the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference in November 2004 in Tokyo. On that occasion, I announced that Japan would support Africa's self-efforts, what we call "ownership," for establishing an industrial foundation and developing human resources in order to facilitate trade and investment between Asia and Africa. At the Asia-Africa Summit today, I proposed to propagate to Africa "the productivity movement," which was one of the driving forces behind the growth in Asia. I also believe it is vital to advance cooperation at the private-sector level for purposes such as human resource development in industrial fields in both Asia and Africa. The Government of Japan will provide as much assistance as possible to this end.
(New Initiatives for Promoting Trade and Investment between Asia and Africa)
As part of the TICAD process, Japan has convened the three meetings of the Africa-Asia Business Forum (AABF) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The AABF provides an opportunity for private companies in Asia and Africa to have business discussions and negotiations. The three Forums have seen concrete results, namely the conclusion of approximately 190 memoranda in total, worth approximately US$140 million. The fourth Africa-Asia Business Forum (AABF IV) will be organized next year on an even larger scale.
Time and again, it has been pointed out that the lack of information is among the major obstacles to promoting trade and investment between Asia and Africa. The Government of Japan, together with UNDP and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has taken this Summit as an opportunity to newly establish the TICAD Exchange Network. This network will provide relevant information on business in Asia and Africa via the Internet. The Government of Japan anticipates that the network will contribute further to the development of trade and investment relations between the two regions. We hope that all of you will take part in and make good use of this network.
There is a historic document, penned nearly 2000 years ago, about interactions between Asia and Africa. This document contains information on trade in the waters surrounding the Indian Ocean, the area covering East Asia to the eastern coast of Africa. This document proves that merchants established wide-ranging exchanges of people, material and information between Asia and Africa from time immemorial. We stand today on this two-thousand-year history of the exchange.
In 2008, Japan will host the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). Japan will stir up the winds drawing Asia and Africa together and sustaining the momentum for cooperation born out of the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. Japan will provide further support for the entrepreneurial spirit that contributed to initiating Asia-Africa cooperation.
Thank you very much for your attention.
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