Message from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) on the Occasion of the 20th African Union Summit

January 27, 2013
French, Japanese

Your Excellency Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi, Chairperson of the African Union Summit,
Your Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
Your Excellency Mr. Hailemariam Dessalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government and Heads of Delegations of Member States of the African Union,

1. Introduction

I extend my heartfelt congratulations on convening the 20th African Union Summit. The year 2013 is the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African Union (AU), which was founded when many African countries became independent. The continent of Africa has overcome various difficulties and has achieved steady progress during this half century. Africa is now a source of new hope for the whole world. I pay tribute to the efforts of the forerunners in Africa who have devoted themselves to realizing peace and prosperity in the continent for these years.

I would also like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government of Japan, to express my sincere condolences to the victims of the hostage incident in Algeria. I offer my deep sympathy to those who were injured and to the families of the victims. It is absolutely intolerable to resort to violence, and the Government of Japan strongly condemns any acts of terrorism.

I assumed the position of Prime Minister of Japan following the change of government at the end of last year. In 2001, I accompanied then-Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori who visited Sub-Saharan Africa for the first time as the Prime Minister of Japan. I am honored to chair the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) to be held this coming June. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my renewed commitment to further strengthening cooperation with the leaders of African countries to enhance further dynamism in our relationships.

2. The Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V)

The year 2013 is also the 20th anniversary of the TICAD process, which Japan, together with African countries launched with the aim of attracting the attention of the international community on Africa. During these twenty years, TICAD, under the basic principles of ownership and partnership, has led the discussions in the international community as a platform for collective wisdom and efforts for African development. Africa has achieved significant growth and is now under the spotlight in the international community. We are pleased and deeply impressed to see such remarkable progress as Japan has worked closely with Africa for twenty years, believing in the great potential of the continent.

This year, the year of Africa, we will hold TICAD V in Yokohama from June 1 to 3. The Government of Japan will make its utmost efforts to lead the conference to a successful one. Yet, the key to success is held by African countries themselves, which are responsible for ownership. In particular, strong leadership by the heads of African countries is important. On behalf of the Government of Japan, I kindly ask for your kind cooperation, especially participation of heads of state and government in TICAD V, and active contributions to discussions. Japan sincerely hopes for further development of Africa and I am looking forward to meeting you again in Japan in June.

Although Japan experienced the unprecedented earthquake in 2011, we have faithfully implemented our pledges made at TICAD IV in 2008. Among others, our commitments to double the size of our ODA to Africa and the amount of direct investment in Africa have almost certainly been achieved. I believe that Japan has continued to support the growth of Africa for these five years since TICAD IV.

At TICAD V, the Government of Japan wishes to demonstrate the international community the future direction for improving the quality of growth in Africa through such efforts as sharing the benefits of this significant growth broadly in society in close cooperation with African countries. “Hand in Hand with a More Dynamic Africa-Transformation for Quality Growth-” will be a basic message for TICAD V and we will have discussions on three inter-related themes, namely, “Robust and Sustainable Economy,” “Inclusive and Resilient Society,” and “Peace and Stability,” to show the world actions to be taken for African development. Specifically, we will place priority on infrastructure and human resources development for promoting private investment, with the aim of accelerating the economic growth of Africa. We will also exert leadership in establishing the post-2015 development framework, while further promoting human security and prioritizing the roles of women and young people. Furthermore, we will support initiatives by African countries themselves for ensuring peace and stability, which is the very basis for growth.
The Government of Japan will advance preparations together with the African Union Commission, which has become a co-organizer for the first time, as well as with African countries and the international community to ensure the success of TICAD V.

3. Conclusion

The theme of the AU Summit is “Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance”. Africa is a continent full of energy and potential for leading the way to a bright future. We hope that Africa will strengthen its solidarity under AU and lay a path to a new age. Japan would like to further deepen its relationships with African countries and to continue working closely with them towards a future full of promise, and it hopes that TICAD V will be a new starting point for that purpose.

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