Yokohama, Japan, 30 May 2008: Representatives from 51 African countries, including 40 Heads of State and Government, joined with Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda of Japan, in creating a blueprint for a “century of African growth” at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), the three-day summit-level event in Yokohama, Japan, that concludes today.
Prime Minister Fukuda said in his opening address that, “In the future, Africa will become a powerful engine driving the growth of the world.” He announced a package of initiatives for African development, including doubling Japan’s Official development assistance (ODA) over the next five years to boost progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
“The most important thing is the development of infrastructure in order to boost the momentum for African growth,” said Prime Minister Fukuda, adding, “the experiences of Japan and other Asian countries tell us that improvements in transportation infrastructure play a critical role in attracting private investment.” He also pledged that Japan will offer up to US$4 billion of ODA loans to assist Africa countries in developing such sectors as infrastructure and agriculture and to extend financial support of US$2.5 billion, including the establishment of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Facility for African Investment.
The conference adopted the “Yokohama Declaration”, outlining principles for advancing African development among TICAD stakeholders, as well as the “Yokohama Action Plan” and the “Yokohama Follow-up Mechanism”, laying out a road map for action-oriented initiatives with measurable targets. The latter two documents were hailed as eminently innovative.
With the theme of “Towards a vibrant Africa: continent of hope and opportunity,” TICAD IV priorities include: 1) boosting economic growth; 2) ensuring Human Security, including the achievement of the MDGs, consolidation of peace and democratization; and 3) addressing environmental issues and climate change.
“The theme of the Conference very much captures the impressive achievements of many African countries,” said UNDP Administrator Kemal Dervis. “In terms of overall economic progress, average annual economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa has been above five per cent since 2004, reaching 6 per cent in 2007- one percentage point higher than the world average.”
United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro stated that “with a concerted drive by African governments and their development partners, we can accomplish these goals for a better world.” To lessen the impact of rising global food prices, she called for intensified support by the international community and African governments for agricultural sectors across the continent and urged quick action to implement the recommendations of the Yokohama Declaration and the MDG Africa Steering Group.
World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said, “The World Bank Group’s goal for Africa is straight-forward: over the next 15 years or so, during this generation, your leadership generation, I believe Africa can become a new pole of global growth, just as we’ve seen over the past years that China, India, and others have become complementary poles of growth to the developed countries.”
President Jaykaya Kikwete of Tanzania, who is also President of the African Union, expressed hope that through the TICAD process, Japan would do more to encourage private sector investment in Africa. He also noted that Africa bears more than its fair share of the consequences while contributing the least to global warming. “We salute the Japanese leadership in attaining a broad global consensus on a practical mechanism to follow-up on the Kyoto Protocol and applaud the creation by Japan of the US$10 billion Climate Change Fund,” added President Kikwete. He asked that Japan set aside a fixed percentage of the Fund specifically for Africa.
Prime Minister Fukuda emphasized the twin principles of African ownership of its development and partnership with the international community for development that have guided the TICAD process since its inception at TICAD I in 1993. Japan will target a “significant portion” of a new US$100 million global emergency food assistance package for Africa to help cushion the impact of surging food prices, said the Prime Minister, and spur an African “green revolution” by helping double the current annual rice output of 14 million tons over the next ten years.
Japan will contribute US$ 560 million in the coming years to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, about 60 percent of which will go to Africa, and also train 100,000 people as health workers over the coming five years to respond to critical shortages in that area.
TICAD IV was attended by over 3,000 participants, including 74 executive heads and representatives from international and regional organizations, private sector and civil society organizations, and notable individuals, who contributed greatly to the discussions. Also participating in the conference were high-level representatives including ministerial-level participants from 34 partner countries, including the G-8 and other industrialized nations as well as Asian countries.
Japan will feed the results of TICAD IV into the G-8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit scheduled to be held from 7 to 9 July, 2008, chaired by the Japanese Prime Minister, to bring African priorities to this meeting of world economic powers.
At TICAD IV, Japan awarded for the first time the inaugural Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prizes to Brian Greenwood for Medical Research and Miriam K. Were for Medical Services. The laureates of each category were awarded an honorarium of 100 million yen (approximately US$ 1 million). The prize was established in 2006 in memory of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, a famous Japanese researcher who died some eighty years ago in Ghana, where he lived and carried out research on yellow fever.
Launched in Tokyo in 1993, the TICAD process initiated a high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners. The process continued with TICAD II, held in 1998, and TICAD III in 2003, and has evolved into a major global framework to facilitate initiatives for African development.
For further information please contact:
Nicholas Gouede (communications contact for the Co-organizers), TICAD/UNDP Africa Bureau, New York; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: +1 (212) 906-5954; mobile in New York: + 1 (917) 373 5030; mobile in Yokohama: (+81) 80 2610 6316. Press kit: http://www.ticad.net