October 7, 2018

Plenary 1 was held under the theme of “Trends and Challenges since TICAD VI,” co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and Ms. Bience Gawanas, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations. It was opened with introductory presentation by Co-chairs, which provided the context for the discussion. Many participants acknowledged that this year marks 25th anniversary for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and commended TICAD’s significant contributions to the development of Africa as a multilateral forum since 1993, advocating the importance of African ownership and international partnership.

During the introductory remarks, reflecting on the guiding principles of TICAD that ensures transparency and consistency, Mr. Kono reported on the progress of implementation of Japan’s measures at TICAD V and VI. He acknowledged some positive developments in economic aspect of Africa such as the economic recovery, the signing of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and initiatives led by Regional Economic Communities (RECs). He also welcomed positive developments in political aspect such as peaceful and democratic transition of power in some countries and regional peace building effort seen in South Sudan and in the Horn of Africa. He confirmed Japan’s continued support toward Africa in addressing challenges affecting human security, such as vulnerable health system, increasing population, urbanization, natural disaster and climate change, as well as in promoting security and rule of law, with particular focus on human resource development and institution building.

In the discussion that followed, participants observed that since TICAD VI, Africa experienced economic recovery and would see its steady economic growth in the coming years after 2018. Delegates shared their experience and effort towards inclusive sustainable growth, including sound fiscal management, domestic resource mobilization, promotion of FDI, diversification, industrialization and infrastructure development that are necessary to facilitate economic transformation. Participants also underlined the important role played by the private sector and, in this respect, welcomed the successful organization of the first Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa in May 2018. Through the discussion, the participants shared the view that the deterioration of debt sustainability in some African countries would have negative impact on sustainable development, and called on both lenders and borrower countries to make sure to maintain debts as payable, not to deteriorate fiscal soundness and to increase debt transparency.

Participants also recognized that Africa had experienced various social and environmental challenges since TICAD VI, including various health issues, insufficient energy access in the cities and in rural areas, and climate- and disaster- related economic losses. Participants called on the necessity for building resilient and sustainable society as these issues adversary affect the vulnerable groups. In this regard, women and youth empowerment, including through education, training and employment was also underscored by many participants.

The importance of promoting peace, security, stability and good governance as a basis for inclusive and sustainable development in Africa was confirmed by the participants. They also underlined the necessity to continue to fight violent extremism, terrorism in Africa, including the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel regions. In this respect, conflict prevention, including structural conflict prevention is recognized to be effective to sustain peace in the continent. Delegates exchanged their experiences and the lessons learnt for reinforcing democratic process, rule of law and good governance. These include strengthening national institutions, fight against corruption and meeting the needs of people, especially the poor and marginalized groups.

Ms. Bience Gawanas, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, the United Nations, in her concluding remarks, underlined the importance of five cross-cutting and interrelated issues, namely the private sector, women and youth, institution building, climate change as well as the nexus between peace, security, humanitarian assistance, human rights and development which are key to addressing emerging challenges facing Africa. These issues should be effectively addressed to achieve Africa’s aspirations, through TICAD process.

Participants confirmed these trends and challenges could guide the direction and identify priorities to be set out at TICAD 7, which are also in line with AU’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. TICAD was recognized by the participants as a vital platform to discuss and promote Africa’s peace, security and sustainable development and have evolved into a mutually beneficial partnership. Participants renewed the commitment to accelerate their respective efforts in the run-up to TICAD7, and agreed to further deepen the discussion in the subsequent plenary sessions in this Ministerial Meeting.

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