Remarks by H.E. Mr. Takeaki Matsumoto, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the Third TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting
Plenary 1:
"Progress status of implementation of Yokohama Action Plan
and future TICAD process"

1 May 2011, Dakar, Senegal


Honorable ministers, ambassadors, distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

1. Current Status of Implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan

First, in accordance with the theme of this session, I would like to report that the Yokohama Action Plan has continued to be implemented steadily since the previous Ministerial Follow-up Meeting.

As for the pledge to "double Japan's ODA to Africa to 1.8 billion USD by 2012," the total amount of Japan's ODA disbursed to Africa last year reached a provisional value of 2.05 billion USD, which exceeded the target amount. With regard to the goal of doubling Japanese private sector investment through the support of the Government of Japan, the five-year average value through 2009 was 4.2 billion USD, thereby temporarily exceeding the target of 3.4 billion USD through 2012. The other pledges have also generally been implemented in a smooth manner. Further details can be found in the "TICAD IV Annual Progress Report 2010."

Next, I would like to touch upon how we will implement the Yokohama Action Plan from now on.

As I stated in the opening session, Japan maintains, despite the recent most severe disaster, its intention to take an active role in enhancing peace and stability of the international community. We hereby express once again our unwavering determination to faithfully implement the TICAD IV pledges, which encompass a diverse range of efforts.

In so doing, particularly this year, we will highlight assistance on disaster risk management for Africa, whereby utilizing valuable lessons learned through the disaster.

Japan and Africa are alike in that both face the fury and rages of nature. We will convey to African countries and share with them the valuable knowledge gained in tackling this unprecedented disaster, and put more focus on this aspect in our assistance to Africa. We intend to invite to Japan, officials of African governments responsible for disaster risk management, within this year, to convene a seminar on the theme of "Creating Resilient Economies and Societies" which will withstand natural disasters.

Now, the effectiveness of African development with focus on vibrant economic growth, which the TICAD process has long been pursuing, appears to become a consensus among the international community. The Government of Japan intends to further promote private sector activities by strengthening public-private partnerships. From this perspective, in order to contribute to Africa's economic growth, Japan will actively implement ODA loan projects which involve Japanese private sector, while expanding flexibility with regard to recipient countries and eligible sectors to this end. Furthermore, we will seek to accelerate the provision of new ODA loans, taking the opportunity of this Follow-up Meeting.

2. The Future TICAD Process

Next, I would like to touch upon the future TICAD process. Through the TICAD process, we convene a summit-level meeting in Japan every five years, and roughly three years have passed since TICAD IV. Having passed the midway mark, we have come to a point at which it is appropriate for us to discuss the future TICAD process.

I presume that we should maintain TICAD's comprehensive stance of boosting growth through regional infrastructure development and agricultural promotion, while also providing assistance with emphasis on human security.

However, as Africa continues to evolve, TICAD must also unfailingly change in accordance with this evolution. While African countries have been recovering robustly from the global economic crisis, social and economic gaps seem to have become more pronounced as growth accelerates. Looking at such gaps and vulnerabilities, the major challenge for the future would be making African countries' economic growth more inclusive for all, truly sustainable and balanced, in social and environmental aspects. For example, we might as well focus on vulnerabilities against rising food prices, or the fact that many youth are jobless. Furthermore, Japan intends to make efforts in providing more effective assistance depending on the level of the development of African countries in such sectors as health and agriculture by introducing the "program approach," in which various Japanese assistance schemes are mobilized in a coherent manner.

I very much look forward to our discussions today shedding light upon our path towards the future of the TICAD process.

3. Political Developments in Africa

Now, as Japan's Minister for Foreign Affairs, I would like to briefly mention the historic changes taking place in some countries on the African continent.

In Côte d'Ivoire, Japan expects progress be made in return to peace and national reconciliation under the government of President Ouattara. Japan also expects that the respect for the election results, which was finally realized in that country, contribute to further respect for the will of the people in future elections in African countries.

As for Sudan, Japan strongly expects that the negotiations on a range of issues between Northern and Southern Sudan smoothly advance toward the envisaged secession/independence of Southern Sudan on July 9. To this end, Japan will continue to positively support efforts of both sides.

With regard to Somalia, Japan welcomes the fact that, through the efforts of the international community, including the African Union in particular, the situation surrounding Mogadishu is improving, albeit only slightly. Japan expects, together with the international community, further political efforts be made by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) towards the resolution of issues, and will support such efforts.

Historic changes are now taking place in North Africa. Japan will provide political and economic support for the efforts to establish democratic political systems, particularly in Tunisia and Egypt. The horrific violence in Libya must cease immediately. Japan will support measures taken in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions in order to protect civilians. Japan is paying close attention to the coordinated diplomatic efforts by the United Nations and African Union towards a ceasefire.

Through the TICAD process, we have been tackling various challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and security and governance problems which are likely to be an undercurrent of these changes. Japan intends to continue its active cooperation for the peace and stability of the African continent.

4. Addressing Global Challenges

(Green growth and human security)

Next, I would like to address global challenges. Through the recent great disaster, Japan has renewed its recognition, in a heartfelt way, of the importance of solidarity with the international community. Japan is determined to tackle global challenges even more actively than before as a leading member of the international community.

First of all, with regard to the environment and climate change, Japan seeks to share with African countries a vision that will further promote the transition to a low-carbon society. Moreover, Japan wishes to take on a role of leading the discussions at such fora as COP17 to be held in South Africa at the end of 2011 and at Rio+20 to be convened in 2012. In particular, Japan will work in close cooperation with African countries towards a successful outcome at COP17, and continue assisting African countries in response to their needs so as to help them take measures to tackle climate change.

Next, with regard to the MDGs, in addition to its assistance in the areas of health and education based on the "Kan Commitment" announced last year by our Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Japan will hold a meeting on June 2nd and 3rd to follow up on the UN MDGs Summit held in September last year, to strongly push for the efforts of the international community towards the achievement of the MDGs. Furthermore, we seek, in this opportunity, to deepen discussions on the "way forward" of international development goals beyond 2015. The meeting provides an important opportunity for us to demonstrate the solidarity with the international community. It would be a great encouragement for Japan to receive high-level participants from countries and international organizations.

Let me inform you that, as an effort in the area of health, which is a critical element of the MDGs, the Japan Center for International Exchange, together with other organizations, are scheduled to hold a seminar on "Health and Human Security in Africa" tomorrow in this hotel.

(Global governance and other issues)

The United Nations is the only universal organization responsible for promoting international peace and prosperity. Thus, it must be capable of responding to global issues effectively. The need for Security Council reform, above all, has consensus of the international community including Africa. And now, Japan is putting forth a proposal that opens the door to the reform, which is enjoying support from many countries. There is a high momentum for reform, and we must not miss this opportunity. I very much wish to receive support from African countries. Let us work together for realization of early reform, and new permanent membership for Africa in the Council.

5. Conclusion

In closing, having received support from African countries after the recent disaster, I strongly felt that the solidarity between Japan and Africa cultivated over 18 years through the TICAD process has become strong, substantial, and warmhearted. It is said that "a friend in need is a friend indeed." I would like to close my remarks by stating once again our sincere appreciation and also by emphasizing that Japan will continue to be committed to its policy on assistance to Africa in an absolutely unwavering manner.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

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