"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] Statement by H.E. Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Fourth TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting Plenary 1: " Status of implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan"

[Place] Marrakech, the Kingdom of Morocco
[Date] May 5, 2012
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

1. Introduction

In this session, I would like to review the status of implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan and seek your views concerning the themes to be addressed at TICAD V.

2. Progress status of implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan

I would like to begin by explaining the status of implementation of Japan’s commitments detailed in the Yokohama Action Plan. As stated in the TICAD IV Annual Progress Report 2011 that has been distributed to you, Japan, while making efforts to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake, is faithfully implementing the pledges made at TICAD IV in 2008.

As for the pledge to double its total ODA to Africa to US$1.8 billion by 2012, the average annual total amount since 2008 has exceeded US$1.8 billion. Moreover, with regard to the pledge to assist in doubling to US$3.4 billion the amount of private investment from Japan into Africa, the five-year average figure until 2010 reached US$5.2 billion, thereby greatly surpassing the target. The other sectoral pledges have also been steadily implemented on track.

The Yokohama Action Plan also includes concrete assistance measures to be taken by development partners including the Co-organizers, and it is my understanding that those measures are also being steadily implemented.

3. Major themes to be focused on at TICAD V

Next I would like to share with you Japan’s views concerning the major themes envisaged to be addressed at TICAD V.

Since TICAD IV, Africa’s economy has overcome the global economic crisis to continue its robust growth. Africa is currently poised to be transformed into a promising investment destination in addition to being an aid recipient. Japan has encouraged this transition by improving the investment climate through its ODA. It should be recalled that Last year’s Follow-up Meeting affirmed that the TICAD process should place greater focus on “Boosting Economic Growth.” Therefore, we believe that “Boosting Economic Growth” should be one of the major themes of TICAD V.

Africa is at the same time facing various challenges. These include natural disasters such as droughts and famine; the consolidation of peace and stability, which is the foundation for development; the financing of infrastructure development necessary for economic growth; achieving the MDGs when many people continue to suffer from poverty and the most vulnerable have difficulties in breaking away from poverty; and narrowing the social and economic disparities that are associated with the acceleration of growth; to name but a few. Africa is currently facing an urgent need to strengthen its own resilience, and looking ahead to TICAD V, there are a number of development-related issues about which we should deepen our discussions.

In particular, disasters have the destructive power to nullify the fruits of development and growth. To safeguard against this, each African country must mainstream disaster reduction into its development agenda, making Africa a resilient continent. Based on the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan will hold a High-Level International Conference on Large-Scale Natural Disasters in July this year, with a view to mainstreaming disaster reduction in development and international cooperation. Disaster reduction should be a key element within the formulation of “post-2015” international development agenda.

In addition, Japan is of the view that “human security,” which focuses on each and every individual, is an effective concept to realize well-balanced and inclusive growth, as well as to achieve the MDGs, and to build resilient societies in Africa. With a view to the post-MDG agenda, Japan is determined to lead international discussions based on the consultations held through the TICAD process, attaching importance to inclusive growth and job creation, as well as other guiding principles such as equity, sustainability and mutual support.

TICAD V must aim for further development through responding to new challenges facing Africa, building on the past 20 years of the TICAD process. I very much look forward to hearing the proactive views of our panelists and other participants regarding the priority issues that TICAD V should focus.

4. Outcome Documents of TICAD V

Finally, I would like to share with you on Japan’s views regarding the outcome documents of TICAD V.

At TICAD IV, we agreed on three types of documents, namely the Yokohama Declaration, the Yokohama Action Plan, and the TICAD Follow-up Mechanism. Through these, the TICAD process became more action-oriented and has been implemented with transparency and accountability. It therefore seems to me that maintaining the same framework would be appropriate for TICAD V as well.

At the same time, there exist areas for further improvement within the current framework. In order to maximize the development effects, it is critical to create synergy effects that can arise from Africa’s own development efforts, including those for mobilizing its own resources, and efforts by donors. From this perspective, Japan believes that the new Action Plan should explicitly include specific measures to be pursued by African countries in addition to efforts to be made on the donor side. This proposal also originates from African ownership, a principle of the TICAD process.

In addition, through triangular cooperation and coordination with the G8 and G20, Japan wishes to further strengthen international partnership, which constitutes the other basic principle of the TICAD process.

Today, I hope to hear the views of the panelists and other participants concerning the outcome documents of TICAD V.

Thank you very much for your attention.