Remarks by H.E. Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Second TICAD IV Ministerial Follow-up Meeting
for the Session on "Current Status of Implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan and Future Challenges"
2 May 2010, Arusha, Tanzania
Your Excellency Mr. Jakaya Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania,
Honorable ministers, distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to begin with a general overview of the status of implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan to date. After that, I will speak about what the new government of Japan intends to do with regard to assistance for Africa.
Current Status of Implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan
In March 2009, the First Ministerial Meeting was held in Gaborone amidst an unprecedented financial and economic crisis storming the world. At that meeting, Japan and Africa announced our strong determination not to allow this crisis to set back African growth or achievement of the MDGs.
Japan has faithfully executed the crisis response package announced at that meeting and implemented assistance to the greatest possible extent, in accordance with the four pillars of TICAD IV. As a result, coupled with the efforts of the other development partners, significant progress has been achieved in every area of the Yokohama Action Plan.
I will first speak about this in light of the overall picture.
The amount of Japan's ODA for the past two years has averaged 1.7 billion US dollars, nearly reaching the pledged 1.8 billion dollars target. The provision of 45% of our pledged four billion US dollars ODA loan target has also been committed. As for the accelerated implementation of approximately two billion US dollars of grant aid and technical cooperation pledged last year in Gaborone, about 1.8 billion US dollars has been committed.
Next I would like to introduce several case examples.
Under TICAD IV's first pillar of "Boosting economic growth," the most striking progress has been seen in assistance for infrastructure, particularly in transport and electricity.
Regarding the second pillar, "Achieving the MDGs," the food aid and humanitarian relief pledged last year has been executed well beyond the amount originally announced. Japan has also completed its contribution announced last year to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
As for the third pillar, "The consolidation of peace and good governance," Japan has been engaged in the stabilization of Somalia and the Sudan, as well as human resource development at PKO training centers and other efforts.
Under the fourth pillar, "Addressing environmental and climate change issues," Japan has supported introduction of renewable energy infrastructure, such as solar and geothermal power generation. We are also moving forward promptly in such efforts as drought and flood countermeasures. These types of assistance, utilizing Japan's technologies, have surpassed one billion US dollars in total over the past two years.
While such remarkable progress has been achieved on the one hand, on the other, Japan-Africa trade, investment, and tourism were unable to evade the impact of the economic crisis last year. Further efforts are needed to bring about their expansion.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Japan's Future Efforts
On this occasion, I would like to reiterate the unequivocal determination of Japan's new administration to carry out the commitments made at TICAD IV, including among others the doubling of our ODA for Africa.
I am speaking of not only the quantitative execution of our pledges. In implementing these commitments, we intend to remain continually aware of changes in the circumstances surrounding Africa.
From this perspective I would like to put forward my thinking in accordance with three challenges.
The first challenge is recovery from the economic crisis.
This year, Africa's economy is forecasted to be on a recovery trend. However, extraordinary efforts will be necessary for Africa to return to its pre-crisis record high growth trajectory.
I have one vision to put forth: the pursuit of synergies among Africa's abundant resources, its agriculture, which holds latent potential, and its enormous market of some 900 million people.
We will seek to connect the entirety of the African continent through economic corridors, to develop rural areas in which the majority of the poor live, and to expand agricultural production. Constructing economic corridors will enable the development of currently untapped resources, and foster market integration beyond national borders. In this way, we will be making intraregional and external trade increasingly dynamic, so as to vigorously support African self-reliance and access to global markets.
(1) In order to make this a reality, Japan will advance regional infrastructure development all around the continent, elaborately connecting discontinuous roads, energy grids, and so on. In addition, to enable the doubling of rice production over ten years, Japan will further intensify assistance through the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), which has currently been expanded to serve 23 countries. There is one example here in Arusha, in which through thirty years of Japanese assistance for agriculture and irrigation, the productivity of rice production has increased by more than 2.5 times.
In order to achieve such results all around the continent, we intend to make even greater use of ODA loans than in the past and execute infrastructure projects up to two billion US dollars over the next two years. To accelerate implementation of such projects, we need cooperation from the African side based on each country's ownership.
(2) In addition, we will call for yet greater engagement of the private sector. We are currently preparing for the dispatch in autumn this year of a high-level joint public-private mission. Japanese companies' interest in Africa continues to be high, and later in this session Chairman Hiromasa Yonekura of Sumitomo Chemical Co., the Chairman-elect of Nippon Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, will deliver his remarks on behalf of the Japanese business community.
The second challenge is achieving the MDGs.
However Africa may grow, unless we save people unable to maintain their dignity as human beings as they suffer from hunger or diseases, we cannot say that development goals have truly been attained.
In sub-Saharan Africa, there has been no progress on the maternal mortality ratio due to such reasons as lack of obstetrics facilities. One in seven children continues to die before his or her fifth birthday. And, in fact some 90% of deaths from malaria globally are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa.
In sympathy as a fellow human being, and in aspiring to ensure human security, I intend to support human development and nation-building in developing countries.
In September this year, the UN High-Level Plenary Meeting on the MDGs will be convened. The international community has arrived at a time to renew its resolve towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015.
(1) Towards this end, Japan will step up its efforts in fields related to the MDGs such as health, including maternal, newborn and child health, water and sanitation, education, and food. Japan pledges assistance of approximately one billion US dollars beginning this year until our next Follow-up Meeting.
(2) To the Global Fund, we will make a contribution of approximately 240 million US dollars for this year. The malaria programs in Africa supported by the Global Fund have put into use more than 70 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets including those using Japanese technology. We are encouraged by the fact that over the past few years a number of countries such as Rwanda and Zambia have succeeded in reducing the malaria mortality rate by half.
(3) Also, we will work to support self-help efforts of the local people themselves, by promoting broadly an approach rooted in human security as a key to achieving the MDGs.
The third challenge is that of climate change.
I will be speaking about climate change in greater detail tomorrow. In essence, Japan will intensify its assistance to Africa based on the Hatoyama Initiative and seek to strengthen its cooperative relationship with Africa towards establishment of the next climate change framework beyond 2012.
In implementing these assistance efforts, Japan intends to enhance further its cooperative relations with the African Union and with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and contribute to the deepening of regional integration.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Call to Development Partners and African Nations
Thus far I have spoken about Japan's efforts in the coming years. In order to bring about a "Vibrant Africa,", however, concerted efforts are required by the whole international community. Japan strongly urges all TICAD development partners to strengthen their assistance to Africa with the same determination and sense of speed as Japan.
At the same time, we very much look forward to African colleagues demonstrating political leadership to advance democratization and good governance, as well as continuing to push forward prudent macroeconomic management, allocation of resources to the poor, and creation of a business-conducive environment.
I would like to end my remarks by expressing my great expectation for beneficial and constructive discussions to take place in the rest of the meeting and for robust messages to come out to be reflected in this year's important international fora.
Thank you very much for listening.
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