Keynote Speech by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi
at the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development
29 September 2003
Your Excellencies, Presidents,
Distinguished Representatives of Governments and International and Regional Organizations,
Distinguished Representatives from Civil Society,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the occasion of the opening of TICAD III, I wish to extend my heartiest welcome to all the distinguished participants assembled here today who have traveled all the way from Africa and other parts of the world.
(Footsteps of TICAD)
The TICAD process celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Ten years ago, in the wake of the end of the Cold War, TICAD was born here in Tokyo, with the main aim of regaining the interest of the international community in Africa, which was at that time waning.
Since then, with concrete actions, Japan has tackled African development and over the last decade has implemented assistance amounting to US$12 billion to Africa. During that period the Japanese government has accepted more than 10,000 trainees from African countries to Japan, and a total in excess of 7,000 Japanese experts have been dispatched to Africa. As we gather here, in the villages of Africa, many young Japanese people are actively joining the people of Africa and toiling together.
Two years ago, Former Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori, who is serving as the chairperson for this conference, made the first-ever official visit to sub-Saharan Africa as an incumbent Japanese Prime Minister, where he declared his vision that, "There will be no stability and prosperity in the world in the 21st Century unless the problems of Africa are resolved." This is a vision I also share, and the veracity of which I am firmly convinced. It is my conviction that as we continue through the new century, in an environment in which we are struggling to remove a range of threats facing the world today, the importance of these words is ever more increasing.
(Present Focus of TICAD)
If I were to summarize the most important theme of TICAD III in a few words, I would say that it is to bring together knowledge and experiences of the international community in African development in support of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Japan sincerely respects the will of Africans themselves to make the 21st century the African century.
With the intention of spearheading moves to support NEPAD, I would like to take this opportunity to announce the three pillars that comprise Japan's initiative for assistance to Africa. They are "human-centered development," "poverty reduction through economic growth," and "consolidation of peace." These pillars also correspond to the priority areas laid out by NEPAD.
The first pillar is "human-centered development." It has been said that nation-building "starts and ends with people." Japan announced at TICAD II it would provide US$750 million in areas of basic human needs (BHN) to Africa over a five-year period and has been steadily implementing it since. As a result, the health and medical care environment has been improved for approximately 240 million people, safe water has been supplied to approximately 4.6 million people and educational opportunities have been provided to approximately 2.6 million children through construction of school buildings among others.
On the basis of these results, I would like to take this opportunity today to announce that over the next five years Japan aims to extend grant aid assistance totaling US$1 billion for areas such as health and medical care, including measures against AIDS, as well as education, water and food assistance, to Africa.
The second pillar is "poverty reduction through economic development." Without economic growth, poverty cannot be reduced. Japan is seeking to place further emphasis on cooperation to improve agricultural productivity in particular and eventually move away from dependence on food imports. The dissemination of New Rice for Africa (NERICA), a hybrid combining the strong characteristics of Asian and African rice is representative of the efforts being undertaken by Japan.
Infrastructure is essential for economic development. Japan places particular emphasis on areas of transportation, communication, energy and water.
In the area of trade and investment, it is my wish to see the accumulation of numerous success stories that can demonstrate the mutual benefit of trade and investment to both Africa and Japan. One example of these is the MOZAL Aluminium Smelting Project, the largest of its kind in the world, which is run under public-private cooperation between Japan and the countries of southern Africa.
In aiming to steadily increase the number of such exemplary success stories, Japan will promote investment in Africa by Japanese companies through overseas investment loans and other measures, with a target totaling approximately US$300 million over five years. I hereby announce that the World Bank and other co-organizers will convene the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference in the autumn of next year.
There are many countries in Africa that are effectively shackled by huge debt. Japan will steadily implement cancellation of yen-loan ODA debt totaling US$3 billion to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) and other eligible countries of Africa. Japan will intensify policy dialogue with countries whose debt has been cancelled in order that these countries will invest in socio-economic development priorities including education.
The third pillar is "consolidation of peace." Peace of course is the basic foundation for development. Japan has participated in peacekeeping operations in countries including Mozambique. Recently, Japan has engaged in cooperation for the consolidation of peace in countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Liberia.
Japan wishes to further dialogue with its African partners in order to address the question of how the people of Africa can become free from various threats against lives and human dignity including poverty, conflict and infectious diseases, in other words, how Japan can contribute to "human security," and realize a society in which people can live with hope
(Future of TICAD)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Japan's appeal for an emphasis on African development through the convening of TICAD I ten years ago, has developed over the course of a decade into a mighty tide throughout the international community. Japan will move to institutionalize TICAD as a means of strengthening its follow-up structures to make the TICAD process more dynamic.
It is truly regrettable that the recent World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference held in Cancún, Mexico could not advance Doha Development Agenda negotiations. The creation of equitable rules is necessary for promoting trade and investment of developing countries, including Africa. I sincerely hope that African countries, based on the spirit of partnership of TICAD, will join Japan in making a constructive contribution in a form that will enhance mutual benefits.
The key to TICAD's future is Africa's ownership and expansion of partnership. Japan hopes to act as a bridge between Asia and Africa. In so doing, by utilizing Asia's experience and vigor, we would like to provide diversity and dynamism in African development. I strongly expect to see expansion of partnership, through the utilization of various frameworks, including private-sector cooperation and others.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, African winds are once again blowing here in Tokyo. It is my abiding hope that over the course of this three day conference these winds from Japan will travel across Asia, eventually enveloping the whole world, and will reach Africa with their promise of a brighter future.
I am convinced that when the time comes for Africa to achieve its own vision, it is Africa that will generate winds of change for a better world.
Thank you very much.
Back to Index