As the Tokyo International Conference for African Development (TICAD V) drew to a close, leaders from 50 African countries and international partners vowed to work hand in hand to deliver quality growth and sustainable development to Africa. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his country would contribute US$32 billion (R312,5-billion) to scale up TICAD’s agenda in Africa over the next five years, focusing on peace and stability, building robust and sustainable economies and promoting inclusive and resilient societies.
Some of the funds emanating from past TICAD meetings have been used to build and maintain road networks in Africa, especially on major corridors thereby directly benefitting the trucking industry.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the three day meeting, Abe said Africa will be an engine for world growth in the coming decades and would be at the leading edge of economic expansion.
“Now is the time for us to invest in Africa. Japan will not simply bring natural resources from Africa to Japan. We want to realise industrialisation in Africa that will generate employment and growth,”
The funds are expected to help the continent in areas including trade, infrastructure and private sector development, health, agriculture and agro-processing. They include US$1-billion (R9,7-billion) in development, humanitarian and security assistance for the Sahel region and an initiative to help tens of thousands of Africans find jobs.
Delegates at the closing ceremony of TICAD issued the Yokohama Declaration. The document calls on African countries to unleash the continent’s business and trade potential while improving well-being through agricultural development, job creation and promotion of food security.
Under the Action Plan, Africa will aim for six percent growth in the agriculture sector and a doubling of rice production by 2018 from its 2008 level.
The declaration and action plan concluded three days of reflections on the economic and development achievements of the African continent since 1993 and challenges over the next five years.
“The challenge for Africa now is to transform economies so that agriculture becomes more productive, manufacturing flourishes and high value service industries emerge,’ said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark.
UNDP was a co-organizer of TICAD V along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).
Since 1993, TICAD has played a critical role in raising global awareness of African development issues and providing strategic leadership on development assistance to Africa. Over the past 20 years, the partnership has evolved from a high-level discussion forum to a platform for action.