Joint Monitoring Committee of the TICAD Process
Opening Speech by H.E. Mr. Nobuhide Minorikawa
Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
(10:00-10:30, February 9, 2009 (Opening Session))


Your Excellency Madam TANKEU, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of African Union,
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am greatly honoured to be able to deliver this opening speech to represent the host country of the first meeting of Joint Monitoring Committee of the TICAD process.

At TICAD IV held in Yokohama last year, we announced various initiatives for development in Africa as Yokohama Action Plan, and also launched the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism in order to monitor the implementation of these assistance measures. The Joint Monitoring Committee is the second tier of the Follow-up Mechanism. The main purpose of the Committee today is to compile the TICAD IV Annual Progress Report which summarizes the progress of Yokohama Action Plan in the past 8 months, and to prepare for the TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting scheduled for March in Botswana.

The TICAD IV Annual Progress Report that we'll be producing will be an important material at the Ministerial Follow-up Meeting. Participating Ministers are expected to examine and assess the progress of Yokohama Action Plan based on this report and to make suggestions for the future implementation.

The government of Japan is firmly committed to the pledges made at TICAD IV and to the implementation of them. You can be reassured about it. At the same time, we need to be reminded that TICAD is an evolving process. We need to take into account the new situation arising in Africa, and we need to make necessary adjustments so that we can swiftly and appropriately respond to the new needs and requirements.

So, what is the challenge Africa is facing? The current world economic crisis, of course. African countries have started to experience severe impacts of the crisis such as the sharp drop in resource prices and overseas remittance, or credit crunch.

At the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Taro Aso, Prime Minister of Japan, mentioned, in the special address, that Japan would faithfully fulfil its commitments announced at TICAD IV. Prime Minister Aso also expressed Japan's intention to put the voices of Africa together at the Ministerial Meeting in Botswana, so that he can put a special emphasis on the importance of these voices of Africa at the Second Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy in April.

One of the sessions in Botswana will be entirely devoted to the theme of the impact of, and response to, global financial crisis and economic downturn in Africa. I'm certain that we'll have lively and meaningful debates and discussions there.

Despite the current global downturn, Japan is ready to fulfil its commitments. However, in order to reach our goals, it will be necessary to ask other development partners to make the same efforts. While there is a risk of slowdown of global demands and investment, I would like to encourage our African colleagues to take steps forward to further improve their economic policies and governance in order to keep the positive momentum of economic growth in Africa in recent years.

I sincerely hope that all the participants at this meeting will join in active and fruitful discussions today so that we'll be able to continue our efforts towards the realization of "Vibrant Africa".

Thank you for your kind attention.

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