Remarks by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
on the Japan's Initiative for Cooperation for Africa
May 14, 2003
Your Excellency, President Wade,
Your Excellency, Ambassador Farah, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps,
It has been almost one year since I received the African Diplomatic Corps here at my Official Residence last year. Looking back, steady progress has since been made in solidarity between Japan and Africa. I believe, at the G8 Evian Summit also, Africa is a priority on the agenda.
Today I am delighted to receive President Wade, one of the founding fathers of NEPAD, the New Partnership for Africa's Development. Japan welcomes NEPAD wholeheartedly as an African-led roadmap for development and progress for the future of Africa.
Japan will host the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development, TICAD III, this September. This is the tenth anniversary of TICAD. During these ten years, Japan and Africa have strengthened cooperation based upon friendship. The hosting of TICAD III is a clear indication of Japan's commitment for Africa. Now that NEPAD is in place, Japan's basic policy on cooperation for Africa will be to support NEPAD through the TICAD process, and to expand partnership for that purpose.
We will maintain solidarity between NEPAD and G8 and cooperation with international organizations at the center of our partnership. At the same time, we will promote South-South cooperation, in particular, Asia-Africa cooperation. 2005 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Asia-Africa conference, which was a historic step in Asia-Africa relations. As we approach this commemorative year, many Asian countries are taking a high interest in the TICAD process. Japan intends to open up a new chapter in the history of Asia-Africa interaction through the TICAD process.
Since detailed information on Japan's support for NEPAD is available in the handouts, I will elaborate on the main points of those measures. As I pointed out last year, I regard human-centered development and the consolidation of peace as priority areas. In this regard, for instance, Japan will aim to provide funding of approximately US$80 million for polio eradication in Africa and elsewhere in the world.
At the same time, in considering Africa's future, I believe it to be of great importance to support the momentum toward economic growth in African countries. To this end, we should mobilize broader resources such as trade and investment in addition to aid.
First, there are many countries in Africa where growth is stifled with large debts. Japan has made the largest debt relief contribution, and will further move to implement debt forgiveness for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries and other eligible countries in Africa, by canceling the Yen-loan ODA debts amounting to approximately US$3 billion. Corresponding with this measure, through international frameworks, Japan will seek to intensify policy dialogue with the countries concerned in order that those countries will invest in socio-economic development priorities including education.
Secondly, for the sake of economic growth, I consider it very important for Africa to raise agricultural productivity and to extricate itself from reliance on imported food. Based on this recognition, Japan will place emphasis on assistance measures in the agricultural sector. As part of such measures, we will continue development and dissemination of "New Rice for Africa (NERICA)." At the same time, in addressing the immediate issue of famine in Africa, Japan has decided to provide additional food aid amounting to approximately US$55 million.
Thirdly, infrastructure development and investment are essential for economic development in Africa. I welcome the international community increasingly coming to share this view. Japan will continue to help develop infrastructure, for instance, with approximately US$1.06 billion in aid earmarked for implementation. Furthermore, with a view to facilitating investment by Japanese companies in Africa, overseas investment loans with a target amount of US$300 million will be made available.
Many issues Africa is faced with have relevance to the water issue. This March, Japan organized the Third World Water Forum and Ministerial Conference in Kyoto, Shiga and Osaka. On that occasion, Japan elaborated policy measures including the launching of "Grant Aid for Water Security," a fund amounting to approximately US$130 million. Japan intends to be proactive in ensuring that the success of the World Water Forum will result in tangible benefits for Africa.
There will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st Century unless the problems of Africa are resolved. With a view to resolving the outstanding problems, Japan made a commitment to extend assistance worth approximately US$750 million over a five year period in the fields of basic human needs at TICAD II in 1998. Five years on from that pledge, I am pleased to tell you that most of this commitment has been already achieved.
It is a well-known fact that the conditions surrounding Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) continue to be severe. Still, Japan intends to walk side by side with Africa. Therefore, reflecting on achievements thus far, I will continue to support the determination of the people of Africa to stand on their own through their own efforts. I am convinced that this will certainly be to the benefit of Africa.
Let me conclude my speech by raising my glass in a toast to further strengthening the solidarity between Japan and Africa.
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