"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] "The Energy Challenge of Africa: Energy Infrastructure Development in Africa – Toward the TICAD V in 2013," Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Koichiro Gemba

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] October 12, 2012
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Mr. Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I have been introduced, I am Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan. On behalf of the Ministry, a co-organizer of this seminar, I welcome all participants and would like to say a few words on the occasion of the opening of the seminar. First, I would like to express my appreciation to the moderator, panelists, and co-organizers for their cooperation.

Africa has achieved an average economic growth of nearly 6% in recent years against the background of abundant natural resources and rising population, and is drawing worldwide attention as a new economic frontier after Asia.

With this in mind, we will host the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) June next year, and discuss concrete actions that both Africa and the international community should take with the aim of improving quality of the current growth in Africa.

Of various issues to be addressed through the TICAD V, infrastructure development is of particular importance as a basis for economic growth. Among others, development of energy infrastructure is in urgent need, as it will provide electricity necessary for industry and improve the living standard of African people.

The African Union sets high priorities on energy in the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and is advancing infrastructure development under the ownership of Africa, but it is faced with such challenges as insufficient access to electricity and funding gap.

I hope that today's seminar will be a good opportunity to discuss how we should tackle these challenges in the lead-up to TICAD V. As a co-organizer, I would like to raise two points for consideration by the panelist that we deem especially important for energy infrastructure development in Africa.

First, I would like to underline the importance of promoting public-private partnership. It goes without saying that, public finance like ODAs, in particular, highly concessional finance like yen loan, plays an essential role in energy infrastructure development. In fact, Japan has provided about 3.53 billion USD in yen loan and other forms for Africa to support its infrastructure development based on the Yokohama Action Plan adopted at the TICAD IV in 2008.

Meanwhile, it is indispensable to aggressively mobilize private finance to meet enormous funding gap in Africa. To achieve this, we need to ensure that public finance serves as a catalyst for private finance as well as to create more bankable projects in the infrastructure sector. In this context, I underline the need for Africa to make its own efforts to mobilize private finance including through appropriate risk sharing between the public and private sectors.

Second, we must develop energy infrastructure in a sustainable manner. Africa produces natural gas and other resources, and also has great potential for renewable energy including geothermal power generation. I believe that promoting appropriate use and development of these resources will enable Africa to achieve sustainable economic growth.

Japan, for its part, will take the opportunity of TICAD V next year to push ahead a strategy in realizing low-carbon growth and climate resilient development in Africa including through the development of renewable energy and highly efficient power generation system. In this regard, I believe that advanced technology of Japan will make a significant contribution.

I hope that there will be useful and constructive discussion at today's seminar. Let me conclude my remarks by offering my best wishes for the success of the seminar.

Thank you.