Japan Targets Robust Private Sector Investment

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Mr. Norio Marumaya.jpg

Ahead of the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VI) that is expected to take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from August 27 – 28, 2016, the Government of Japan has assured African countries of her interest in the private sector.

“Taking into consideration the role the private sector plays in promoting socioeconomic development, TICAD-VI plans to feature in the private sector,” Mr. Norio Marumaya, director general of Africa Affairs said.

According to him, what Africa needs is private-sector investment, otherwise known as Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Mr. Marumaya made the assertion on Wednesday, July 6, in an interview with several journalists from Africa at his Foreign Ministry office in Tokyo, Japan.

He said the Japanese government has fulfilled a huge portion of the US$32 billion pledge in public and private support made to African leaders at the TICAD-V Summit in 2013 and has encouraged Japanese firms to invest in Africa, many of whose representatives, according to him, would attend the TICAD-VI Summit.

TICAD has been an evolving element in Japan’s long-term commitment to fostering peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnerships.

In this context, Japan has stressed the importance of “Africa’s ownership” of its development, as well as her “partnerships” with the international community.

The TICAD conferences – which emerged in 1993 after the end of the Cold War in an era of ‘aid fatigue’ among donor countries, and was critical in regenerating strong donor interests in Africa – are intended to help promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their development partners.

TICAD has evolved into a major global forum to promote development on the continent under the principles of African “ownership” and international “partnership.”

Marumaya said the Nairobi Conference will be a milestone of the TICAD process, since, “it would be the first-ever TICAD Summit to be held on the African continent in over 20 years.”

“Coming at a time when aid fatigue has become apparent, the launch of TICAD was catalytic for refocusing international attention on Africa’s development needs in the course of the past 20 years,” he explained.

He said holding the TICAD-VI Summit in Africa clearly demonstrates growing African ownership of the process, which has been attracting much attention from African states and all TICAD partners, such as international organizations, including the United Nations system; regional organizations, such as the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency); as well as civil society and the private sector.

He described TICAD-VI, as an “opportune moment,” because the year 2016 is the first year of implementations of the global and regional development agendas, namely the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its first Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
Japan co-hosted TICAD conferences in 1993 (TICAD-I), 1998 (TICAD-II), 2003 (TICAD-III), 2008 (TICAD-IV) and 2013 (TICAD-V).

TICAD V, unlike the others, upheld the core message of “Hand in Hand with a More Dynamic Africa.” Under the concept, active discussions were conducted on the future of African development, centering on the main themes “Robust and Sustainable Economy,” “Inclusive and Resilient Society,” and “Peace and Stability.”

As an outcome, TICAD V adopted two documents, the “Yokohama Declaration 2013,” presenting a future direction for African development, and “Yokohama Action Plan 2013–2017,” a roadmap for the TICAD Process over the next five years, with specific measures.

Since TICAD V, Japan has actively deployed its diplomacy toward Africa in order to maintain the momentum and to steadily implement its pledges.

For example, the Japan–African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Summit Roundtable was held in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 26, 2013, chaired by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In the roundtable, participants exchanged views on agricultural development and food security, according to Marumaya.

The TICAD-V conference ended as one of the largest summit meetings ever held in Japan with the participants totaling more than 4,500, including Prime Minister Abe, Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida, as well as representatives from 51 African countries, including 39 heads of state and government, delegates from 31 development partner countries and Asian nations, 72 international and regional organizations, the private sector, NGOs and civil society.

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