By Chad Willliams
The Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) Summit took place in Tunis, Tunisia from August 27 to 28.
TICAD is an open and inclusive forum that brings together African countries and development partners, including international and regional organisations, donor countries, Asian countries, the private sector and civil society organisations, dealing with African development.
Naledi Pandor leads South African delegation
The minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Dr Naledi Pandor, led the South African delegation at the eighth TICAD Summit.
The Summit has highlighted the close connection between Japan and Africa, and sets out a pathway for African development, looking ahead to the post-pandemic era.
Japan announces US$100 million in funding for Tunisia
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said his government had approved US$100 million in funding as part of the Tunisia Covid-19 Social Protection Emergency Response Support Project, TICAD 8 Media Coordinator Mohamed Trabelsi told TAP.
The announcement was made at the end of a meeting which brought together the Tunisia’s minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Othman Jerandi and Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi.
Trabelsi said Tunisia and Japan had inked two partnership agreements; the first provides for technical and financial cooperation and the financing of the Tunisian government’s development projects and reform programmes in various fields.
Tunisia will join the Japanese initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the second agreement. This is within the framework of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
The conference is jointly organised by Japan, the African Union Commission, the UN, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.
Saïed urges new development approach in Africa
“A new development approach in Africa which rests on social justice and human rights is needed today,” President of the Republic Kais Saïed said at the opening of the “Tokyo International Conference on African Development” (TICAD 8) on Saturday.
“It is no longer tolerable that the African people who have enormous wealth should endure social justice and be denied development,” Saied said in an opening speech.
AUC chairperson calls to strengthen co-operation between Japan and African countries
Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat emphasised the need to strengthen and improve co-operation between Japan and African countries which are facing several challenges related to climate change, health, youth unemployment and food security.
Speaking at the opening of TICAD 8, he recalled that Japan has announced $30 billion in funding to Africa.
“Co-operation between Japan and African countries remains crucial, especially since Japan has, in recent years, granted $500 million for infrastructure and development of grain production in African countries,” he said.
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group Amina J Mohammed stressed the importance of Japanese technical co-operation with African countries, which will enable these countries to achieve food self-sufficiency.
While recalling the wealth of the African continent in terms of human and natural resources, Mohamed reaffirmed the importance of investing in youth and women through financing and empowerment programmes.
Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Achim Steiner, for his part, called to reflect on joint modes of investment between Japan and the United Nations in order to accompany and support the sustainable development of African countries in various sectors, particularly health, agriculture, renewable energy and digital technology.
It is through private investment that partnership can be scaled up, says Senegal’s President Macky Sall
“No matter how important is official co-operation, it is still insufficient,” Senegalese President Macky Sall told the gathering.
“It is through private investment that our partnership can be scaled up to ensure shared growth,” he added.
The Senegalese president hailed the Japanese and African private sectors for their participation in the conference. He also called on Japan to innovate and look for solutions to seek a way out of traditional co-operation considering that the regulations of the World Trade Organisation do not provide for high trading volumes.
It is regrettable that African Union member Morocco failed to attend the conference, he said, over the lack of consensus about the issue of representation.
He expressed the hope the issue will be definitely solved to secure the smooth functioning of the union and a successful partnership.
“Since its launch, TICAD continues to deliver on its promises by yielding concrete results, notably in education, training, agriculture, health and water resources. Such performances make TICAD a reference partnership mechanism. “
In connection to pharmaceutical sovereignty, Sall said he seeks expanded partnership, particularly in vaccine manufacturing and biotechnological material in the continent. “This is possible as a number of countries have already embarked on the process,” said the Senegalese president.
“In times of acute economic crises, the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with the war in Ukraine are taking their toll on African countries.”
“This is why we keep on advocating for special drawing rights (SDRs), an issue which requires the full mobilisation of Africa and the international community. The SDRs need to become a reality to underpin post- Covid-19 recovery efforts.”
There is likewise a need to advocate for the effective implementation of the G20 initiative on the suspension of debt-service payments as a measure to support efforts to strengthen economic resilience and recovery.
“Africa wants a fair and equitable energy transition that allows countries to tap into available resources to secure sought-after economic competitiveness and universal access to electricity,” the president said.
“Food sovereignty is a challenge that needs to be taken up as soon as possible,” Sall added. This is possible through the development of large-scale agricultural production, processing and a better conservation of products.
The continent has over 60 percent of arable land and considerable water resources and labour force, thus the importance of promoting public/private partnerships. He said, in this vein, he had requested the support of G20 members to have the African Union sit on the council. This will help the African bloc better defend the continent’s interests.
Chad Williams is multi-media journalist at IOL News