Policy Speech by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
At the United Nations Conference Center
(Addis Ababa, 26 August 2002)
Your Excellency, Mr. Amoako, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA),
Your Excellency, Ambassador Antonio, Acting Interim Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU),
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my greatest honor to have the opportunity to speak to you today. As all of you know well Japan co-hosted the 2002 FIFA World CUP a couple of months ago, in which African teams showed their brilliant performance every day. All people, from small children to grown-ups living in the cities where African teams stayed for the pre-World Cup training, became friends of the teams. Of course, TV showed the communication that was going on between African teams and people receiving them. I think it was wonderful that lots of Japanese people felt so much closer to Africa through the World Cup.
It is no coincidence that I have started my visit to Africa in Addis Ababa. This beautiful city is the home to the headquarters of the AU, which symbolizes the move toward the integration of Africa, and also the headquarters of the ECA, which plays an important role in the development of Africa. Japan, as a true friend of Africa, has been working with you for the integration and development of Africa for many years. And today, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about Japan's policies on its cooperation with Africa.
2. Japan's basic policy: Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) process
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st century unless the problems of Africa are resolved. The problems Africa is facing are great challenges for not only the region itself but also for the international community as a whole. Next year will mark the tenth year since Japan, which recognized the sense of urgency over these problems, started the TICAD process in 1993. It was also the year when the international community showed signs of "aid fatigue," just after the end of the Cold War. The TICAD process initiated by Japan has continued unabated, including TICAD II in 1998 and the TICAD Ministerial-level Meeting in 2001. Japan will convene TICAD III at the summit-level in October next year, which as mentioned is the tenth anniversary of the TICAD process.
All this while, Japan has been consistently advocating the importance of Africa's own initiatives and self-help efforts, which we call ownership, and the partnership of the international community, which supports such African efforts.
Development cannot be sustained for long unless the beneficiaries address the challenges as their own. African development has to be initiated and led by Africans themselves. And for such efforts to bear fruit, the international community should respect the initiatives of Africa and support its efforts from an equal position.
Responding to Japan's idea, Africa clearly demonstrated its ownership through the elaboration of NEPAD and the establishment of the AU. The international community, including Japan, highly appreciates these efforts and achievements.
The G8 Africa Action Plan adopted at the G8 Summit Meeting at Kananaskis is a response to NEPAD from the international community as a partner that regards African challenges as global issues. The growing momentum of the G8, culminating in the Action Plan, originated in the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit Meeting in 2000, where Japan, as the G8 chair, invited leaders of developing countries including African countries to an outreach session held in Tokyo. Through the Action Plan, G8 countries are to vigorously support countries pursuing good governance, economic growth and poverty reduction. Japan intends to take its own initiatives in implementing the Action Plan, with a view to contributing to the successful implementation of NEPAD.
All African stakeholders, not only governments but also civil society and the private sector, need to share the ideals of NEPAD and work together in the coming years to achieve them. In this context, Japan welcomes the decision of African countries to introduce the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in order to ensure the steady implementation of NEPAD by themselves. We believe that the rich experience of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on peer review can provide useful references to Africa, and Japan announced that it was ready to make a financial contribution amounting to 100,000 euros for utilizing this experience at the OECD Council Meeting in last May. We also believe it is important to make effective use of the ECA's expertise in this kind of cooperation.
3. Japan's efforts toward TICAD III
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would now like to turn to Japan's efforts concerning the upcoming TICAD III. Japan has designated the period up to TICAD III as the "Year for Soaring Cooperation with Africa." The ownership of African countries is reaching its new high point in the form of NEPAD. Under these circumstances, I firmly believe that the TICAD process can continue to play a unique catalytic role as a framework through which Africa and its partners promote comprehensive dialogue and cooperation with each other. I would like to make further efforts with African countries for the success of TICAD III.
In particular, Japan would like to give priority to the following three areas in the TICAD process: (i) Asia-Africa cooperation; (ii) "human-centered development," which is an important tenet of Japan's development cooperation; and (iii) efforts to consolidate peace as a precondition of development.
(Expanding the circle of partners for African development: linking Africa and Asia)
Firstly, Japan has been making efforts to expand the circle of partners for African development through the TICAD process. We believe that Asia's experience and expertise in development may also be useful for African development in the 21st century, because Asia, in the latter part of the 20th century, approached development challenges that are similar to Africa's situation from a somewhat different angle and with some remarkable results.
NERICA (New Rice for Africa) is a symbol of this new type of Asia-Africa cooperation. NERICA, a hybrid rice of African and Asian species that is pest- and disease-resistant with a high yield, has been developed and disseminated in parts of Africa. Japan has been cooperating in the NERICA project in the hope that it will strengthen the agricultural sector, an important economic fundamental of Africa, and improve the situation surrounding food security in Africa.
Talking about food security, I am deeply concerned by the serious food shortage in the southern part of Africa. Japan has decided to extend its food aid amounting to approximately $30 million to support African people facing this emergency.
It is also important to make an effective use of private resources for developments such as investment and technology. Asia-Africa cooperation is becoming increasingly multi-layered by involving the private sector in Asian countries. The Asia Africa Investment and Technology Promotion Center (Hippalos Center) aims at both capacity-building to attract private investment and provision of information on investment conditions in Africa, while the Africa Asia Business Forum, aims to increase business opportunities between Africa and Asia. These activities are good examples of Asia-Africa cooperation in the TICAD process.
In August, I chaired "the Initiative for Development in East Asia (IDEA) Ministerial Meeting" in Tokyo. Actually, it was only two weeks ago. One of the main objectives of IDEA is to make an intellectual contribution to international discussion on development by sharing the development experiences of East Asia, which accomplished successful economic development called "East Asian miracle" during the period from the 1960s to the 1990s. I will introduce the results of this meeting at the WSSD. In preparation for TICAD III next year, Japan intends to deepen discussion of this framework so that we might be able to better utilize the findings of the meeting for African development in the common interests of Asia and Africa.
(Field- and human-oriented development assistance for Africa)
Secondly, Japan attaches great importance to "human-centered development" as we recognize that human resources development is the foundation of nation-building. From this point of view, Japan has been making consistent efforts in such sectors as education and health in every site of development cooperation on the ground. This will be one of the big pillars of Japanese cooperation with Africa.
On the occasion of TICAD II in 1998, Japan announced, as one of a variety of measures it has taken to advance Africa's development, a five-year plan that included 90 billion yen of Grant Aid in the following sectors: education, health and medical care, and the supply of safe water. The total amount of the assistance Japan has already implemented since TICAD II is as much as approximately 70 billion yen. Such assistance enabled an additional 2.4 million children to go to school, an additional 2.9 million people to have access to safe water, and an additional 215 million people to benefit from improved medical conditions.
Japan attaches great importance to water supply projects, which contribute not only to the improvement of sanitation such as the eradication of worms, but also to the reduction of time and labor for drawing water. A women's group in a certain Western African country can earn their living by operating a common vegetable garden. This became possible as Japan's water supply project freed them from water drawing labor. Such projects bear good ripple effects in the promotion of women's greater participation in society and poverty reduction. These are tangible examples of Japan's development cooperation based on "human-centered development."
The field-oriented approach in development is widely supported by Japan. The total number of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) now amounts to about 23,000. One of every three has been dispatched to African countries and there are now 26 JOCVs working in Ethiopia. I had a chance to talk with them today over lunch. Their training activities vary, including car repairs, construction, cooking and coaching volleyball. But they are delivering one common message: they are all here full of determination and enthusiasm to work and sweat together with Africans on the ground while appreciating African culture and life. I was touched by the energy of these young men and women who will be the torch-bearers of tomorrow's Japan, and I was convinced this energy provides a backbone to Japan's cooperation with Africa. I believe that this enthusiasm is widely shared with the members of Japanese NGOs, which are expanding the range of their activities to all corners of Africa.
In addition, I would like to express that Japan will expand assistance in trade-related capacity-building in order to equip people with a better ability to seize trade and investment opportunities. Economic growth through trade and investment is an important challenge for developing countries, including those of Africa, because they have to realize poverty reduction and private sector development in the international society in which globalization is accelerated. Japan is also determined to continue to work toward the objective of duty-free and quota-free market access for all LDC products.
(Efforts toward consolidation of peace)
Finally, such efforts for development cannot bear fruit without peace. Consolidation of peace will be an important element of our cooperation with Africa in the years to come.
Recently we have seen some positive development in Africa, such as the consolidation of peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the restoration of peace in Angola and the remarkable progress made in the peace negotiations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Sudan.
In order to prevent a country in a post-conflict phase from stepping back into conflict, it is crucially important to promote social harmonization such as the promotion of dialogue among the parties in conflicts, efforts to deal with anti-personnel landmine issues that hamper restoration and reconstruction, assistance to refugees who are victims of conflicts and the reintegration of ex-soldiers into civil life. Japan has some advantages in addressing these efforts with its recent accumulation of expertise in such countries as Afghanistan. Also in Africa, Japan has already supported the activities for the demarcation of the borders between Ethiopia and Eritrea and for the removal of landmines in the related areas with a view to assisting in the final settlement of the border dispute between the two countries. Japan is also assisting for the reintegration program of ex-soldiers in Sierra Leone.
I will visit Angola tomorrow as the first ever Japanese Foreign Minister to do so. I would like to have an intensive dialogue to pursue possible ways of cooperation to enhance further consolidation of peace in Angola.
It is also important to address conflict prevention and resolution in Africa at the regional level. Japan welcomes that the AU has established the Peace and Security Council and making further efforts in this area. Japan also intends to continue to support the AU's activities in this area through the best use of the AU Peace Fund.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very much delighted that I will take part in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) following my visit to African countries to see with my own eyes what is necessary for sustainable development in Africa. At this Summit, I will make an intensive appeal for the importance of the "Partnership of Global Sharing," which is an idea that every country should share strategies, responsibilities and experiences, and also emphasize the necessity of concrete actions. The Koizumi Initiative (Concrete Actions of the Japanese Government to be taken for "sustainable development" - toward Global Sharing), which was recently announced by Prime Minister Koizumi, is a package of various assistance measures that Japan has decided to take for the WSSD. I deeply hope that our strong determination and enthusiasm will contribute to the success of the Johannesburg Summit.
I hear "Addis Ababa" means "new flower" in Amharic. I would like to conclude my speech by expressing my sincere hope that all of you will join forces to overcome difficulties so that the new buds of the AU and NEPAD will soon grow into magnificent flowers to bear fruit to the people of Africa, and by renewing Japan's determination to advance together with Africa hand in hand.
Thank you very much.
Back to Index