The Fourth Tokyo International Conference
[Opening Remarks by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda]
The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) was convened in Yokohama, Japan from May 28 to 30, as an unprecedented large-scale international conference. TICAD IV brought together representatives from 51 African countries, including 40 Heads of State and Government, representatives from 34 development partner countries and Asian countries, and 75 international and regional organizations, as well as representatives from the private sector and civil society, such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs). It was due to cooperation from many people, including the participants and the people of Yokohama City, that such a large-scale conference went well, and to schedule. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to everyone concerned.
Many people say, "Unless African issues are resolved, there will be no stability and prosperity in the 21st century." While Africa is still facing challenges such as conflict, famine, and HIV/AIDS, we see some positive developments in both political and economic spheres. The main objective of TICAD is for Japan, along with the international community, to vigorously support Africa to further enable countries to take their own steps "towards a vibrant Africa."
Many participants in the Conference expressed their appreciation of the concrete results brought about by the TICAD process over the past 15 years.
TICAD pioneers a new phase in our relationship with African countries, with a view to Africa's future prosperity. Out of such strong desire as ours, I announced, in the keynote address at the opening of the Conference, various initiatives of the Government of Japan, such as doubling Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Africa by 2012 and stimulating twice as much direct investment in Africa by the private sector.
The Conference adopted the Yokohama Declaration, which showed determined political commitment by the heads of each government towards African development. Lively discussion regarding priority areas of boosting economic growth, ensuring human security, and addressing environmental issues and climate change took place in the Conference from the viewpoint of supporting the ongoing remarkable economic growth in Africa.
The Conference also announced the Yokohama Action Plan, which listed more specific objectives under the Yokohama Declaration, and the establishment of the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism, both of which were welcomed by the participants.
At the Conference, we confirmed the importance of the key concept of the TICAD process: Africa's ownership (self-reliance) and partnership with the international community (mutual cooperation). In addition, we reaffirmed the importance of public-private partnership, partnerships with civil society, and Asia-Africa cooperation, and pointed out the critical role of the TICAD process in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Meanwhile, the Conference, including the High-level Panel Discussion on May 29, confirmed that the entire international community should urgently address the issue of the sharp rise in food prices and that comprehensive countermeasures in both the short term and medium to long term are necessary.
In their speeches, African leaders particularly stressed the importance of infrastructure development and trade and investment promotion, and expressed their desire for assistance in those areas. Many participants, including the heads of African countries and development partners, highly appreciated the Government of Japan's assistance for Africa conducted through the TICAD process.
On the occasion of the Conference, the First Awarding Ceremony of Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize was held in the presence of Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and the participants applauded the prize for its contribution to the promotion of medical and health services in Africa. The TICAD IV African Fair 2008 and other Africa-related seminars, symposiums, and events seemed to bring Japanese people closer to Africa.
During the three days of the Conference, I had talks with a total of 46 people, including 40 leaders of African countries, while asking Mr. Yoshiro Mori, former Prime Minister of Japan, to chair the Conference. The African leaders gave me candid, valuable opinions on their impressions of TICAD IV and the current situation of Africa. The results of these meetings will be fully reflected not only in respective bilateral relations but also in Japan's measures for African development.
Japan will host the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July. The participants expressed their strong expectation that the concrete results of TICAD IV will be reflected in discussions at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit. I am determined to make my utmost efforts to meet the expectation that the participants placed on Japan.
It is the overall impression of African leaders that TICAD IV went well, with successful results. Such an outcome proved that the Conference had been well prepared by the Government of Japan and others including the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the World Bank. I would like to thank Japan's leadership for establishing good relationships with us. Discussions at the Conference, including those at the opening session and the subsessions, were of high quality, covering almost all of the topics on Africa's future and development. I think that Africa's concerns were appropriately dealt with in the main themes of the Conference, which were boosting economic growth, ensuring human security, and addressing environmental issues and climate change.
I would like to express my appreciation of the strong commitment of Japan and other partners to increase aid, trade and investment, and to expand the involvement of the private sector. The Conference also properly focused on the issue of surging food and oil prices, and we on the African side are very satisfied. The Yokohama Declaration, the Yokohama Action Plan and the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism were adopted. I am particularly encouraged by the adoption of the Follow-up Mechanism, which is the first of its kind. The challenge we now face after the Conference is how we are going to implement these.
I am also encouraged by the fact that the G8 Summit will be held soon and that Japan will chair the Summit. It is a blessing that the issues discussed at the Conference will be discussed once again at the G8 Summit and shared more broadly, not only among TICAD participants. I will take care so that measures listed this time can be realized effectively through the Follow-up Mechanism.
Question 1: Although you have announced the doubling of ODA and private sector investment, African development requires the resolution of political instability and poverty as preconditions. Besides the temporary surge in food prices, disparities or gaps due to political instability and poverty also contribute to the current food issue. How are you going to solve these structural problems?
Good governance is of course important for African countries.
Since 1993, when TICAD started, good governance has been spreading, conflicts have been resolved, and peace has been taking root.
It is important to ensure thorough education and to have respect for self-reliance, and, on that basis, to live in harmony together with others, pooling our abilities to deal with any difficulties that friends might face: ownership and partnership, in other words.
I think that, through dialogues with the people of Africa in the TICAD process so far, such a way of thinking is taking root.
Under the framework of the newly established TICAD Follow-up Mechanism, we will closely monitor the progress of assistance by Japan and other countries and organizations described in the Yokohama Action Plan.
In addition, the results of TICAD IV will be effectively reflected in discussions on African development at the G8 Summit, which I will chair.
I will widen the circle of the Cool Earth Partnership in Africa in order to protect Africa from the negative impacts of climate change. As the Chair of the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, I will continue to exercise leadership in the international arena, and make my best efforts so that progress can be made in establishing an effective framework to reduce CO2 emissions on a global basis.
Concerning the reform of the UN Security Council, Japan will pursue the early realization of the reform, including a permanent seat for Japan, in order for the Security Council to play a more effective role in maintaining the peace and security of the international community, including Africa.
The Yokohama Declaration of TICAD IV refers to the need for the reform of the UN Security Council. In addition, I explained Japan's stance on the reform and gained the understanding of African leaders in the course of more than 40 sideline meetings with them.
The Conference, including the High-level Panel Discussion on May 29, confirmed that the entire international community should urgently address the issue of the sharp rise in food prices, and that comprehensive countermeasures in both the short term and the medium to long term are necessary.
Paying heed to the voices of the African leaders and TICAD IV participants I heard, as the Chair of the Conference, on various issues such as climate change and the surge in food prices, I will incorporate TICAD IV discussions and concrete results into corresponding areas of discussion at the High-Level Conference, to be held in Rome in June, organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July.
As I stated in the speech at the opening session, Japan, which recovered from the devastating war with the help of friends, is heartily aware of the importance of partnership.
I think that it is important to build partnerships to exchange insights and experiences between Africa and Asia including China as well as Japan.
We have been offering assistance that involves technical cooperation fitting for Japan, and have constructed lasting relationships with African countries.
Africa is a critical partner for Japan in a broad range of areas including politics and the economy, and we will promote cooperative relationships in various fields.