"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] Press Statement by the Co-Chairs (TICAD II)

[Place] Tokyo
[Date] October 21, 1998
[Source] Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan
[Notes] October 21, 16:00
[Full text]

Africa can build a bright future with the action-oriented guidelines - the Tokyo Agenda for Action.

The Tokyo Agenda for Action was adopted by the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-II), held in Tokyo from 19 to 21 October, 1998. It was co-organized by Japan, the United Nations, and the Global Coalition for Africa. The Tokyo Agenda for Action is intended to guide the concrete policy implementation by African countries and their partners for African development toward the 21st century. The Conference was opened by the keynote speech of the Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Keizo Obuchi. While strongly calling for peace in the continent, Mr. Obuchi underlined the importance of human resource development to move forward with the optimism for Africa's future founded in the recent economic and political progress achieved in Africa. The premise that the full potential of African people needs to be materialized to make better lives for themselves, and that Africa's participation in the international community as equal partners needs to be strengthened, permeated throughout the Conference.

The Conference was attended by 80 countries - 51 African, 11 Asian and 18 North American and European - , 22 African and Northern NGOs, as well as a number of regional organizations based in Africa and international development agencies, totaling to 40 international organizations. Fifteen heads of state or government from Africa and Asia actively participated in leading the discussions and made constructive contributions. Several heads of international organizations also attended the Conference. The Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan delivered a key note address to the Conference at the adoption of the Tokyo Agenda for Action. Mr. Annan, in his address, stressed the need for ensuring human security in Africa by establishing peace, democratic governance, environmental protection, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. At the same time, he said he was bringing a message of hope and that the participants in TICAD-II had the makings of a new and powerful alliance for Africa. The Secretary General of the United Nations also presided over the closing ceremony of the Conference.

This Conference provided an invaluable opportunity for the African leaders and their counterparts to meet and discuss face to face critical issues that call for immediate actions to bring about the reduction of poverty in Africa and further integration of African economies into the rapidly globalizing world economy. The extensive consultation that took place between Africa and their development partners over a period of one year has culminated into the Tokyo Agenda for Action. It is the expression of their commitment to the agreed goals and priority actions in the areas of 1) social development: education, health and population, measures to assist the poor, 2) economic development: private sector development, industrial development, agricultural development, external debt, and 3) foundations for development : good governance, conflict prevention and post-conflict development.

In fact, this means that human resource development indeed is the key for nation building, as proved by the very high rise in living standard of Asian countries, whose per capita GDP was equal or lower than African countries 30 years ago. Strong commitment by Asian countries to transfer their experience and know-how to Africa is a pillar of revival of Asia-Africa exchanges, which faded away some 500 years ago.

As ways to achieve these common goals and objectives, the Conference focused attention on strengthening coordination among all actors of African development, including the strengthened role of the civil society, regional cooperation within Africa, and South-South cooperation. In particular, the Conference participants were engaged in enthusiastic discussions on how to further promote Asia-Africa cooperation, despite the recent financial crisis in Asia, which itself provides some relevant lessons for Africa. At the end of the Conference, a session to promote the dialogue between African policy makers and Japanese businesses was held with a view to increasing trade and investment in Africa and provided an opportunity to share Asian experience. Asian and U.S. private sector representatives also participated in the session.

The participants agreed to follow up their commitments with concrete actions at the national, regional, and international levels, and keep the momentum generated by TICAD-II. In doing so, to ensure tangible results, the monitoring of the outcome of their efforts will receive particular attention.

The Conference has also produced an illustrative list, which is a compilation of more than 350 ongoing and pipeline programs and projects that are in support of the goals and actions in the Tokyo Agenda for Action. It is expected to provide good model cases for the Conference participants in their planning and formulation of follow-up actions.