Speech by
Foreign Minister Yukihiko Ikeda
at the luncheon in honor of
the Ministers of the Southern African Development Community
on May 1, 1996 at Sandton City


Honourable M. S. Merafhe, Chairman of SADC Council of Foreign Ministers,
Distinguished Ministers,

It is indeed a great pleasure and honor for me to hold this luncheon and to have an opportunity to exchange views with Your Excellencies, the distinguished ministers of the Southern African Development Community on the occasion of the 9th session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD IX), which is held for the first time in southern Africa.

Blessed with rich natural resources, fertile soil and relatively well-developed infrastructure, the southern African region, I believe, has the biggest potential for economic development in Africa. I, therefore, expect that the SADC, as a model of regional cooperation in Africa, will play an increasingly important role for stability and economic development of the region.

From this point of view, the Government of Japan has been increasing its assistance to the southern African region in recent years. While the share of the southern African region accounted for 20 percent of Japan's total ODA to Africa in 1990, it was increased to 35 percent in 1994. Since last year, Japan started to make a financial contribution to the Southern African Center for Cooperation in Agricultural Research. Since last month, a Japanese expert has been working at the SADC secretariat to help them increase their capacity to coordinate overseas assistance.

As you may remember, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was held in October 1993. The conference was concluded with a great success and highly evaluated by African countries.

Three years have passed since then. During this period, we witnessed steady progress in both political stability and economic development in southern African countries. We are pleased to find that a new trend toward Asia-Africa cooperation is gaining momentum. Amid such a circumstance, the International Conference on Southern Africa and Eastern Asia was held in Botswana this year to share the experiences of Asia with southern African people for their development.

With a view to accelerating this momentum and contributing to the development of Africa, I made a proposal in my statement at the ninth session of the UNCTAD yesterday that Japan would like to host the Second Meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II) in Tokyo around 1998.

In the statement, I also mentioned that Japan is ready to further contribute to the human resources development in Africa toward the TICAD II.

Firstly, Japan endorses a target of the international community that all the children in the African countries should receive primary education by 2015 at the latest. We plan to contribute about 100 million US dollars in the next three years for education in Africa, mainly for enhancement of the primary education.

Secondly, we would like to accept about 3,000 African technical trainees to Japan in the next three years.

Thirdly, we plan to earmark 2 million US dollars from the Human Resources Development Fund which was created in the UNDP with the contribution of Japan, for promotion of the South-South cooperation including Asia-Africa cooperation.

Moreover, we would like to contribute to the health of the people in Africa. Following the WHO's National Immunization Day program, Japan intends to make active contribution so that polio will be eradicated by the year 2000 in Africa.

We would also like to expand our contribution to the solution of conflicts and the establishment of peace in Africa. Japan took part in the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mozambique and sent a large number of personnel to give a humanitarian assistance to Rwandan refugees. We held the High Level Symposium on Peace and Development in Tokyo last year to discuss the problems of conflicts in Africa. This year, we plan to make a financial contribution to the Peace Fund of the OAU to support its mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

As a nation with the ability and the will to take a global responsibility in maintaining world peace and stability, Japan aspires to play a more active role in the United Nations, even before the conclusion of the Security Council reform. Japan has announced its candidacy for non-permanent membership of the Security Council whose election will be held this fall. On this occasion, I would like to ask your understanding and support for Japan's candidacy.

Now, I would like to raise a toast to the further development and prosperity of the southern African countries. Thank you very much for your attention.

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