"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Plenary 5 (October 21) Policy Address by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Mr. Masahiko Koumura

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] October 21, 1998
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Mr. Chairman, Majesty, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Two days ago, in his speech at the opening session, Prime Minister, Mr. Keizo OBUCHI, encouraged us to demonstrate our Afro Optimism by directing our efforts toward African development through the TICAD process. The discussions during the past two days have clearly identified the challenges Africa is facing, and have brought to light specific priorities for our actions to meet these challenges. I very much welcome the fact that the principle of African ownership is deeply taking root. At the same time, I strongly hope that the partnership between African nations and other countries, as well as the partnership within Africa, will be further strengthened and solidified. If private sector-led economic growth is accelerated through the implementation of the right policies by African governments and their development partners, I am convinced that the 21st century will certainly be the era of Africa's rebirth.

Today we will adopt the Tokyo Agenda for Action, based on the fundamental concept of African ownership and global partnership. If you allow me, I would like to take this opportunity to lay out Japan's policies and programs to assist Africa in line with the Agenda for Action, focusing on social development, economic development, strengthening the basic foundations for development, promoting South-South cooperation, and enhancing the coordination in development cooperation.

First of all, the ultimate objective of development is to improve living conditions for every human being. For the pursuit of human-centered development, it is absolutely essential to promote basic education, improve health care and medical services, and ensure the supply of safe and clean water.

During the past five years since TICAD I, approximately 1.2 million children in Africa have been provided with new educational opportunities as a result of the Official Development Assistance from Japan. And over 15 million people have enjoyed access to safe water and improvements in health care and medical services, resulting in better living conditions. As Prime Minister OBUCHI stated the other day, in order to help African countries achieve the goals of universal primary education and the reduction of both maternal and infant mortality rates as set forth in the Tokyo Agenda for Action, Japan will continue to support these areas, with the aim of providing over 90 billion yens in grants over the next five years. As a result, approximately two million children are expected to be able to study in new educational facilities and the lives of over 15 million people be improved.

Japan will also provide assistance to set up centers in Kenya and Ghana, which will serve as regional bases for training and the coordination of international research for the promotion of measures to fight parasitic and infections diseases,

We will also continue our assistance to address population problems and deal with the AIDS pandemic. We will strongly support actions to eradicate polio as well. In doing so, we will formulate and manage our assistance programs in the framework of the Japan-US Common Agenda.

Secondly, in order for Africa to be better integrated into the global economy, economic growth led by an invigorated private sector is essential. To this end, an Asia-Africa Investment Information Service Center will be established to attract investment to Africa, in cooperation with Malaysian and international organizations. An initiative to promote public and private sector cooperation is under consideration, to be named the "Asia-Africa Private and Public Cooperation Program". As a matter of fact, following Plenary 5 this morning, we will be holding a session called "Dialogue with the Japanese Business Community". I expect that productive and lively discussions can be held among colleagues from Africa, Asia, and those from the Japanese business circles, concerning the possibilities for private-sector economic exchanges.

With regard to agriculture, a key industry in Africa, it is our intention to expand the assistance provided through Asia-Africa cooperation, in particular, increasing rice production in West Africa and the Southeastern part of Africa toward establishing sustainable food production.

Furthermore, in support of Africa's promising tourism industry, we intend to provide assistance primarily for building necessary human resources.

Third, we are committed to supporting Africa's effort to ensure stability, deepen democratic reforms, assure good governance, and establish the respect for human rights and the rule of law, which are all indispensable for achieving sustainable development in Africa. To these ends, while giving due consideration to African culture and traditions, it is necessary to cultivate the requisite human resources and create appropriate systems and institutions. We all recognize that we need to do a better job of preventing conflict and ensuring smooth post-conflict recovery and development. In addition, we share the view that economic and social progress can only be made once peace and stability have been achieved.

Japan, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme, intends to promote greater transparency and accountability in the public sector in Africa. We also support the strengthening of the mechanism of the Organization for African Unity for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflicts, as well as the efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to reintegrate African refugees. At present, Sub-Saharan Africa is reported to have nearly two million land mines. Japan has already ratified the treaty banning anti-personnel land mines, and we intend to provide assistance on the order of 0 billion over the next five years for the relief of land-mine victims and the removal of land mines. The ultimate goal is Zero Victims. As part of these efforts, we will be providing both financial and technical assistance to Mozambique and other African nations.

Fourth, South-South cooperation, Asia-Africa cooperation in particular, will be expanded to make further progress in African development. The countries in Asia and North Africa that have pledged their active support for Sub-Saharan Africa in spite of the current harsh economic climate deserve the highest praise. In particular, the efforts of Asian nations to share the experience of 30 years of high economic growth through technical cooperation and other means will, I believe, be highly useful to the countries of Africa.

We will continue to convene the Asia-Africa Forum at regular intervals and maintain this forum as a basic framework for policy dialogues between the two regions.

Fifth, in order to improve coordination between African nations and their various development partners, we propose the establishment of an African development network.

Japan intends to support the expansion of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture in Kenya as a base for human capacity building that will benefit a number of African nations. We hope this will develop into a network of institutions for capacity building in the future with the support of other donors.

Moreover, Japan is also planning to set up a network of development research institutions linking Asia, Africa, and Japan and the other donor nations and organizations, for the purpose of conducting training programs and joint research on complex issues in African development. We also intend to proceed with the concept of a Japan-Africa Exchange, a network for exchanges between Japan and Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is imperative that the Agenda for Action that we adopt today includes appropriate follow-up mechanisms. It is for that purpose that Japan intends to establish a TICAD Facility, which allows us to convene meetings in Africa to monitor progress in the follow-up process on a region-by-region basis, and provide support for well-designed, effective Asia-Africa cooperation projects.

I am told that there is an old Swahili proverb that says, roughly translated, "A mountain will never meet another mountain, but a man will certainly meet another man." Here at TICAD II, the initial steps have been taken toward a more inclusive dialogue, not only between African governments and their development partners, but such that includes the private sector as well. For instance, yesterday we received constructive suggestions on future African development from the representatives of NGOs, which are performing an increasingly important role in development. We also heard a very instructive report from the Rector of the United Nations University on the important research activities associated with TICAD-II. I am convinced that the wide range of knowledge and experience we bring when all of us join forces can be effectively mobilized for the follow-up of TICAD-II, as we translate our commitments into concrete actions. And I look forward to seeing true partnership grow and expand at all levels among our TICAD colleagues.

Thank you very much.