Extraordinary Press Conference by Foreign Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa
Sunday, August 28, 2022, 3:36 p.m. Tunis
Mr. HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister for Foreign Affairs: As Prime Minister Kishida stated at his press conference earlier, TICAD 8, the second TICAD to be held in Africa, has come to a successful conclusion here in Tunisia. Japanese and African leaders held two days of intensive discussions regarding African development. Prime Minister Kishida attended all sessions of TICAD 8 in virtual and other formats, including the opening session, closing session, and the joint press conference. In addition, the Prime Minister held video teleconference meetings with African leaders and heads of a total of ten countries and organizations.
As the Special Envoy of Prime Minister Kishida, I visited Tunisia and attended all sessions of TICAD 8. Since launching TICAD in 1993, Japan has provided support for approximately 30 years based on the spirit of unfailingly supporting African-led development. At TICAD 8, we strongly conveyed the message that Japan, as a “partner growing together with Africa,” will promote efforts focusing on “people,” emphasizing approaches quintessentially Japanese. I have interacted with African leaders, ministers, and members of the business community with a sense that such Japanese approaches are garnering widespread understanding and support.
During my three-day stay, I paid a courtesy call on President Saied of Tunisia, the host country, and handed over Prime Minister Kishida’s letter. I also held meetings with dignitaries from a total of 21 countries, including Foreign Minister Jerandi of Tunisia, and held in-depth exchanges of views regarding the issues facing African countries and the complex international situation surrounding Africa. In particular, I conveyed the following two points.
The first is addressing unfair and opaque lending practices, in other words, the importance of development finance.
At a TICAD 8 session, Prime Minister Kishida announced that, in order to support the efforts of African countries to improve debt transparency and sustainability, Japan will establish a special window of up to US$1 billion under the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance (EPSA), a collaborative framework with the African Development Bank (AfDB), which will support countries advancing sound debt management and other reforms.
At meetings with African countries following this announcement, I further shared Japan’s awareness of the issues and confirmed that Japan will work together to secure fair and transparent development finance.
Second, I addressed the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its impacts.
I underscored to African countries that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine undermines the foundation of the international order, and that a united response by the international community is essential. In addition, I conveyed that Japan will work hard to strengthen food security in Africa, and confirmed that Japan will work closely with African countries to address this challenging situation.
The next TICAD 9 will be held in Japan in 2025, and we have agreed to hold the Ministerial Meeting in 2024. Based on the outcomes of TICAD 8, we will tackle a variety of issues together with African countries and further deepen Japan-Africa relations.
That is all from me.
Reporter: You just emphasized two points, both of which relate to China and Russia, countries that have deep ties with African countries. Not all African countries necessarily share Japan’s position. What do you think were the reactions and responses of the African countries through various bilateral and plenary meetings?
Minister Hayashi: First, with regard to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, at the meetings, Japan conveyed to African countries that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is an outrageous act that undermines the foundation of the international order, and that we must protect the rules-based international order which has been established and not tolerate any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force. Japan stated that it will work hard to strengthen food security in Africa. In bilateral meetings, Japan conveyed these views and confirmed that it intends to work with African countries to address the situation, precisely during these challenging times.
In response, African countries noted that the food crisis caused by the situation in Ukraine has had a significant impact on Africa, among other issues. Japan will continue to deepen its collaboration with African countries, while carefully explaining Japan’s position, including our support to each country.
There was a question about China’s “debt trap” practices. Since launching TICAD in 1993, Japan has been putting efforts in the spirit of supporting development led by Africa. At TICAD 8, we conveyed a strong message that Japan, as a “partner growing together with Africa,” will promote efforts focusing on “people,” emphasizing approaches quintessentially Japanese. In particular, securing transparent and fair development finance is essential for unlocking Africa’s high potential and improving people’s lives. In order to support the efforts of African countries to improve debt transparency and sustainability, Japan announced to establish a special window of up to US$1 billion under EPSA, a collaborative framework with the AfDB, which will support countries advancing sound debt management and other reforms.
Japan will continue to support capacity enhancement for debt management in cooperation with African countries and in coordination with international organizations.
Reporter: You have just expressed your opinion regarding development finance. At this meeting, the Government of Japan unveiled support measures which focus on investment in people and the quality of growth, almost as if to differentiate from China’s moves to provide support that focuses on quantity over quality if I may say so. Is it Japan’s intention to support Africa by differentiating its support and assistance from that of China’s?
Minister Hayashi: As we stated earlier, we are not referring to China when we talk about addressing unfair and opaque lending practices and development finance. We believe Africa has considerable growth potential considering a range of factors, such as its population composition and resources. In order to leverage this potential strength and ensure that it leads to economic growth, securing transparent and fair development finance is critical. From this perspective, as I stated earlier, Japan conveyed this message during the plenary meetings of TICAD and held in-depth discussions at respective bilateral meetings.
Reporter: At TICAD 8, I understand that African countries expressed various expectations toward Japanese companies expanding their businesses to Africa. However, there are a number of obstacles for Japanese companies, such as security in Africa. How does the Government of Japan intend to address the business environment?
Minister Hayashi: As I mentioned earlier, Africa is expected to achieve dynamic growth supported by its young population. On the other hand, as you just stated, it is true that environment challenges remain, and the Government has been working to improve the situation.
Against this backdrop, despite the pandemic, Japan has largely realized the US$20 billion in private investment in Africa that was announced at TICAD 7. As stated by the Prime Minister, it was announced at TICAD 8 that Japan will invest US$30 billion as a total of public and private financial contribution over the next three years, and we hope that this will accelerate the flow of investment from Japan to Africa.
This matter of improving the investment environment was also discussed bilaterally. Furthermore, the Japanese business community has announced a plan to create an investment fund for startups. The public and private sectors will work together to ensure that these new initiatives will further attract risk money supply.