Asia-Africa Forum III
The Kuala Lumpur New Millennium Statement

"Joining Hands for Strengthening Partnerships"

May 25, 2000

  1. The Third Asia-Africa Forum (AAF III) was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from May 23 to 25, 2000, organized by the Government of Malaysia, the Government of Japan, the United Nations and Global Coalition for Africa. The Right Honorable Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, delivered the keynote address in which he emphasized the great potential of Asia-Africa cooperation. 10 Asian countries, 49 African countries, 13 donor countries and 11 international, regional and sub-regional organizations participated in the meeting.
  2. The Forum built upon the results and achievements of the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II) held in October 1998, as well as the First and Second Asia-Africa Forums held in 1994 and 1997 in Indonesia and Thailand respectively. The Forum focused on the two productive sectors addressed in the Tokyo Agenda for Action, namely, the agricultural and the private sector development. The meeting considered forward-looking strategies, bearing in mind the need for broad-based growth for poverty reduction and for integrating African economies into the increasingly globalizing world.
  3. In the context of strengthening capacity development, the meeting identified capacity constraints in Africa and Asia, and highlighted the relevant experiences from both regions to overcome these constraints. The meeting further identified an initial group of Asian and African institutions to initiate the formation of "Asia-Africa cooperation networks."
  4. Given the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in accelerating the process of globalization, and the consequent widening of the gap between the developing and developed countries, the meeting examined specific possibilities of incorporating ICT into future Asia-Africa cooperation.
  5. The meeting concluded that:
    • African and Asian countries need to further strengthen their partnership, and exchange development experiences, which would be useful to overcome capacity constraints. The development in Asia-Africa cooperation since TICAD in 1993 is a reflection of the growing partnership;
    • The international community, including donor countries, international, regional and sub-regional organizations, the private sector and civil society should play important roles in promoting and enhancing Asia-Africa cooperation. Furthermore, other international fora such as the G8 should support the efforts made by Asian and African countries;
    • Agriculture and the private sector remain critical in African and Asian development, hence, inter-regional cooperation in these areas should be further enhanced. In order to address the capacity constraints in agriculture and private sector development, "networking" of African and Asian institutions is important;
    • In the context of promoting concerted support for increased productivity and the transformation of Africa's predominantly agrarian economies into industrializing economies, Asian and African countries should undertake collaborative research for the development of technological packages and cost-effective production systems for turning natural resources and natural products into goods and services to ensure value added, employment generation, and increase both income and revenue;
    • In both regions, the private sector is an important engine of growth. Therefore, it is necessary to promote its development, particularly small-and-medium-sized enterprises, and to facilitate its participation in enhancing Asia-Africa cooperation; and
    • Asian and African countries, with the support of their development partners, should formulate strategies to ensure wider availability and usage of ICT, especially in the fields of capacity building and awareness, public policies and the legislative framework, technical assistance and infrastructure building.
  6. The Annex to this statement contains the recommendations of each Working Group of the Forum.
  7. Finally, the meeting expressed its appreciation to the Government of Malaysia for its warm and generous hospitality as well as to the co-organizers for all the arrangements made and support given for the success of the Forum.

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