Since 1993, the Government of Japan has been leading the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD). Nowadays, there are various fora through which many countries engage themselves with Africa, but TICAD launched by Japan was the forerunner for African development. Over the course of around 30 years since TICAD I in 1993, the forum has a track record of improving social and economic conditions in Africa.
Taking the next step, the Japanese government co-hosted the Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) in Tunis, Tunisia, on August 27-28, 2022.
In his closing remarks before representatives of 48 African countries, including 20 heads of state and government, Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio said that, "Japan places importance on boosting the vitality of the people who support Africa's future, creating a quality living environment where people can fully unleash their vitality, and maintaining peace and stability so that their livelihoods are not threatened."
"Japan will help realize sustainable development together with Africa with these approaches unique to Japan, focusing on 'people'", the prime minister emphasized, announcing $30 billion USD as the sum of public and private financial contributions to Africa over the next three years. (See the Prime Minister's closing remarks with English subtitles here.)
This contribution will be made through initiatives of green investment, including Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa. Promotion of investment, development finance, human resource development, regional stabilization, food security are likewise included. Support of public health especially via its newly announced contribution through the Global Fund, also remains a priority.
Important Themes of TICAD 8
The themes of TICAD 8 are multi-pointed, but in this article, we would like to touch on development finance and food security. Concretely, Japan responded to the first by establishing a co-financing credit line of up to $5 billion USD with the African Development Bank, including a special line of credit of up to $1 billion USD to support countries seeking to restore debt soundness.
The need for improving food security in Africa comes in the wake of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, which is disrupting grain exports globally. Here, Japan is pledging $300 million USD for bolstering food production through co-financing with the African Development Bank.
Moreover, working together with Africans, Japan is assisting in expanding capacity for 200,000 people in the agriculture sector in order to help create a more resilient society.
TICAD: A Continuing Commitment
Initiated by the Government of Japan in 1993 in Tokyo, TICAD is co-hosted by the United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, and African Union Commission (AUC). It has been held eight times since 1993, in locations such as Nairobi (Kenya) and Yokohama (Japan).
TICAD has advocated the importance of African ownership and international partnership. Today, the development philosophy based on these two principles is shared by many countries around the world.
Focusing on 'People'
As a partner growing together with Africa," Japan is participating in several projects to give incentives to African enterprises.
For example, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) initiative dubbed the "Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA)" competition took place in 2021 in the midst of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. One participant was Khenz Ltd, a Rwandan software company whose CEO Moussa Habineza has benefited from African Business Education Initiative for Youth over the years. Thanks to its work in the midst of COVID-19, the company won a JICA grant to develop its business with a digital ticketing platform providing secure access to bus tickets for long distance travel in Africa.
Awarding the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize
Every 3 years under the TICAD umbrella, Japan awards the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize, named after a Japanese doctor who contributed to medical advancement in Africa.
Recipients of the prize at TICAD 8 were Dr Salim S Abdool Karim and Dr Quarraisha Abdool Karim for their work on HIV/AIDS, and the Guinea Worm Eradication Program, a campaign led by the Carter Center and its African partners.
"I would also like to express our gratitude and appreciation for Japan’s ongoing contributions to science and technology," said Dr Salim Karim on receiving the prize. "We are now pleased to include the Noguchi Prize among the donors and partners in this historic effort to eradicate the second human disease [after smallpox] from earth," remarked Director Adam Weiss on behalf of the Guinea Worm program partners.
The Uniqueness of TICAD
Over the years, there have been several approaches to sustainable development in Africa by many countries. Yet, certain characteristics make TICAD different.
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki is the former CEO of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an organization ratified by the African Union in 2002 to address African development problems. He explains in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs video what makes TICAD unique, starting from its inception, following the Cold War:
If you remember in 1993, the perceptions worldwide that most of our partners had of Africa was a very negative perception. It was a continent that would not get out of poverty. But amidst these perceptions, Japan decided to launch the first TICAD.
The former NEPAD CEO also elaborates on the methodology which sets Japan apart: "The partnership between Africa and Japan is not embedded in the dynamics of donor-recipient. It's a mutual understanding which leads to a foundation of trust," says Mayaki.
Looking to the future, Mayaki explains, "I expect a stronger deepening of this friendship between Africa and Japan."
This article is published in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
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Author: JAPAN Forward