The Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development
The First Preparatory Committee Meeting
2-3 March 1998, Dakar, Senegal
The first Preparatory Committee meeting held in Dakar from 2-3 March 1998 was attended by representatives of all 24 members. A list of participants is attached. The meeting was co-chaired by S.E. M. Fode Seck, Secretary-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Senegal) and H.E. Mr. Kunio Katakura, Ambassador for TICAD (Japan). Dr. Mulatu Teshome, Vice-Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation (Ethiopia) was elected as rapporteur of the meeting.
This summary was prepared to serve as a basis for formulating a preliminary draft of the "Agenda for Action" for consideration by the second meeting of the Preparatory Committee to be held in Harare in June 1998. The second meeting will also take into account the inputs from the forthcoming Regional Workshops in May 1998.
II. Overall Structure of the Agenda for Action, Main Messages and Approaches (Chapter 1 and 2)
The structure of the Agenda for Action as proposed by the co-organizers was endorsed by the participants of the Preparatory Committee as a basis for preparing a preliminary draft.
With regard to the proposed message of TICAD II, i.e. "revitalized growth for poverty alleviation and strengthening Africa's participation in the global economy", the concept of "sustainability" of economic growth was stressed as critical. Some participants expressed the view that the term "revitalized" growth does not correctly reflect the recent progress made in a number of African economies and a suggestion was made to change it to "accelerated" growth.
The key concepts of the Agenda for Action, i.e. "the ownership by African countries and the global partnership", received strong endorsement. It was suggested that the Cairo Agenda for Action on African Development reflects African priorities and need to be better integrated into the TICAD II Agenda for Action, including the issue of industrial development.
The participants endorsed approaches and emphasis of the Agenda for Action (strengthening coordination, regional cooperation, South-South cooperation, capacity building and gender in development). The participants stressed the importance of strengthening coordination of not only multi-lateral and bilateral development assistance but also various initiatives on African development. At the same time, it was generally agreed that South-South cooperation, especially Asia-Africa cooperation, should be the value-added and center-piece of TICAD II. It was also suggested that TICAD II should produce action-oriented guidelines which can result in concrete activities.
III. Areas of Cooperation (Chapter 3)
1. Social Development
The participants agreed that poverty alleviation is a great challenge, which entails a multi-disciplinary approach involving long-term planning and strategy. Economic growth is a necessary condition for poverty alleviation. Integration of the poor into the development process is essential through the creation of income generating activities, opportunity for self-employment, mobilization of domestic savings and increased access to land and credit. Public sector planning and budgetary allocation for human development, particularly, for the poor, including women, female-headed families, refugees and displaced persons, are critical to achieve long-term poverty reduction goals. Infrastructure including rural roads, potable water supply, energy supply and communication needs to be enhanced in order to improve the living conditions of the poor.
The participants acknowledged the education sector as a priority area that cuts across all aspects of social development. Human capital development is the foundation for national development and contributes to poverty alleviation. The participants generally endorsed the goals and objectives presented by the co-organizers, while it was observed that the goals should be realistic and country specific. Country specific strategies, sectoral policies and investment programs need to be established with adequate resources. The need was expressed for coordination of resources coming from the public sector and the international community, including bilateral and multi-lateral donors. The participants recognized the linkages between education, health, nutrition and population, and stressed the important role played by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and community-based organizations (CBOs). While all levels of education (primary, secondary and tertiary) require further support, the focus should be placed on adult literacy and basic education for all, with particular consideration to gender-balanced education as well as vocational training for employment generation. Infrastructure for the education sector requires further support. Capacity building in science and technology, and networking among regional and sub-regional institutions were emphasized.
Maternal and child mortality and morbidity as well as infant mortality are linked to the standard of living. The health sector strategy should include a national investment program as exemplified by some African countries including Senegal. Best practices and successful lessons drawn from the Asian experiences in this area should also be shared. HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, tuberculosis, childhood illnesses are priority areas. TICAD II should also serve to draw the attention of the international community to the need to eradicate several other tropical illnesses. Safe water supply in both rural and urban areas is a prerequisite for reducing the spread of diseases. Assessing the capacities and needs of partner developing countries is necessary to promote South-South cooperation and to tap the relevant capacities of centers of excellence in the South.
Each country should continue the national debate involving all key actors, including public, private and civil society in formulating its population policy which should result in a Population Policy Declaration and/or a policy that provides the framework for partnership. The participants proposed to add to the identified goals, the need for information, education and sensitization with respect to spacing, STD and family size. The issues pertaining to urbanization and migration which have an impact on population policy should also be included. Resettlement schemes for migrants, including refugees and displaced populations, should be an integral part of national population strategies, targeting refugees and displaced populations. The return and re-integration policy of skilled personnel should be pursued in order to reverse the brain drain and revitalize the economy.
2. Private Sector Development
There was unanimity of views on the crucial role that the private sector can play in African development. While there was broad consensus on the proposed objectives and goals, some participants suggested that the action-oriented guidelines may need to be structured into a logical and coherent framework. In particular, actions to be taken by African governments, and supportive measures to be undertaken by Africa's external partners, need to be identified. In this respect, participants underlined the need for development partners to facilitate market access for African products, encourage technology transfer, as well as to assist the development of Africa's infrastructure. It was also noted that South-South cooperation, including the sharing of experiences between Asia and Africa, is particularly relevant in this area.
The importance of institutional development, particularly the reform and strengthening of the legal and regulatory systems, was emphasized. Several participants proposed that it may be useful to define and address the promotion of the private sector by categorizing enterprises into large, medium and small-scale, and micro-enterprises including informal businesses. Some participants expressed the view that financial sector development and the mobilization of domestic savings for investment are essential requirements for private sector growth. It was also observed that support and promotion of the domestic private sector is a pre-requisite for attracting foreign direct investment. The need was also stressed for private sector organizations at the national, sub-regional and regional levels to be clearly identified and involved in the TICAD process. In this regard the meeting was informed that the private sector will be involved in the TICAD-II programs, as well as in some of the preparatory activities leading to the plenary.
The participants discussed a proposal to treat "industrialization" as an independent area of cooperation in the Agenda for Action. It was the general view that the proposal touched upon an important aspect of the long-term development of the continent. Many participants agreed that "industrial development" would be a clearer concept which better reflects the critical role of the private sector. It was also stressed that the role of governments should be to create an environment conducive to private sector development. Several participants suggested that the best way of handling the issue may be within the context of an overarching objective of private sector-led development. The discussion led to the agreement by the participants that the proposal should be incorporated in drafting the Agenda for Action taking into account these modifications and suggestions. The participants also discussed action-oriented guidelines that could support industrial development. This includes such aspects as entrepreneurship, processing industry, technology transfer, and infrastructure development.
3. Agriculture and Environment
While emphasizing that environment is closely linked with sustainable agricultural development, the participants agreed that environment is a cross-cutting issue and should be also treated appropriately in Chapter 2. A suggestion was made that the Agenda for Action could include a follow-up of the implementation of the Rio Convention. The participants strongly endorsed the need for combating desertification and expressed support for the UN Convention to combat desertification and Asia-Africa fora in this effort. Asia-Africa cooperation was also emphasized as an effective modality in promoting the exchanges of expertise in agricultural research, as well as the cooperation in such activities as rice farming and fresh water fishery.
The participants expressed the need to take into account the African Common Policy on Agriculture and Food Security in the Agenda for Action. Ensuring food security was endorsed as an important objective in agriculture. The participants agreed that such aspects as livestock, fishery, water resource management across borders, and locust control should also be dealt with in the Agenda for Action. It was suggested that the issue of rural finance, particularly micro-credit for small farmers, need to be addressed as well. Gender consideration was also emphasized as central to agricultural production.
It was further suggested that the mechanism for price stabilization of agricultural commodities should be addressed in the Agenda for Action. The issue of market access for agricultural products was also mentioned as important.
The participants endorsed strengthened effort for more effective coordination of development assistance to national agricultural development strategies.
The participants recognized respect for human and civil rights, free and fair elections, and rule of law as essential elements of good governance. They agreed on the desirability of the separation of administrative, legislative and judicial powers, and strengthening of democratic institutions and civil society organizations. Participants called for support to regional and national organizations advocating human rights and promoting activities of civil society. Decentralization and devolution of administrative powers to provincial and local governments should be facilitated, and the capacity of the local authorities should be strengthened. Transparency and accountability are regarded as essential for efficient and effective functioning of the government. It was suggested that the government, public institutions, the civil society and the private sector conduct their working relationship in a transparent and accountable manner. Participants agreed to study, for possible inclusion in the Agenda for Action, the main features of the Convention on Combating Bribery of Public Foreign Officials in International Business Transactions as an instrument for observing and maintaining a code of conduct of public officials and to eradicate corruption.
5. Conflict, Peace and Development
The participants pointed out the need to strengthen regional, sub-regional and national capabilities for conflict prevention, management and resolution, as well as the need to address recovery and rehabilitation requirements in the post-conflict phase. They considered it desirable to coordinate the conflict related activities carried out by the United Nations, OAU and sub-regional organizations, and to strengthen the capacity of OAU Conflict Management mechanism and other existing regional institutions involved in information gathering, early warning and other conflict management activities such as training. The role of civil society and non-governmental organizations should also be strengthened. The participants found it necessary to make a comprehensive needs assessment for post-conflict areas, e.g. the Great Lakes region, and to recognize the importance of providing support for the re-settlement of refugees and displaced persons and proposed to establish a sub-title for this issue. Comprehensive assistance including vocational training should be provided for de-mobilized soldiers to enable them to return to civilian life. They also attached importance to facilitating reconciliation through dialogue. The constructive role of women should be encouraged in conflict prevention management and reconciliation process.
The participants were provided with information on the implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) Initiative. Explanations were provided with respect to the eligibility criteria and the ongoing review so as to accommodate more potentially eligible countries. It was noted only a few countries benefited from the initiative so far, and that efforts are under way to provide more flexibility. It was also noted by some participants that the debt relief provided under the HIPCs Initiative is not as substantial as expected by African countries.
Some participants also suggested that debt relief should go beyond the HIPCs Initiative, and that in this regard, there is also a need for technical assistance in debt management and resource mobilization including Official Development Assistance (ODA). Some also argued that existing mechanisms, such as the Naples Terms in the framework of the Paris Club would have to be improved in view of the fact that only a few African countries are likely to benefit from the HIPCs Initiative. A more comprehensive approach was felt necessary by some participants, and the TICAD II process could help in this regard.
The participants and co-organizers expressed their deep appreciation to the Senegalese government for hosting this first Preparatory Committee Meeting.
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