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  • Speech at the seminar co-organized by the Embassy of Japan in South Africa, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the University of Pretoria: Changing Africa and Challenges for Japan

Speech Transcripts

May 10, 2013

Speech at the seminar co-organized by the Embassy of Japan in South Africa, the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the University of Pretoria: Changing Africa and Challenges for Japan

The University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

President Tanaka's speech in Pretoria on May 10, 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very much pleased to be back in Pretoria again in a short period of time. When I came here last February, although I met with many leaders here, including Dr. Mayaki, and visited several places observing some of JICA's activities, I did not have this kind of opportunity to discuss important issues common to us. So I feel very much honored and privileged.

I feel honored, too, because South Africa was the symbol of peaceful democratic transformation of the 20th century. As a political scientist who has studied cases of revolutions and transformation of political systems, I really admire the transformation that South Africa achieved in the last decade of the 20th century. I still remember the time when I wrote a book review of Mr. Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom, when its Japanese translation was published in 1996. It is good to hear that Mr. Mandela is now back home.

I feel honored, too, because South Africa was the country where a Japanese Prime Minister delivered a major speech on Africa. The Prime Minister was Mr. Yoshiro Mori. He was the first Japanese prime minister who visited Sub-Sahara Africa in January 2001. He announced that African renaissance was possible in the 21st century, and that, without resolving African problems, it would not be possible to ensure the stable and prosperous world in the 21st century.

Twelve years later from the Mr. Mori's speech, Africa is now growing. I am sure that his conviction was right and it has become a reality. Africa is much more important both for the world and Japan. JICA continues to contribute to accelerating the growth of Africa and tackling new challenges of the changing Africa and Japan.

Some of you may be familiar with what JICA is doing in Africa but some of you may not. Let me first give you some examples of our activities. In Mozambique, for example, we are working heavily on the development of the corridor from Nacala to the Western Mozambique. Our efforts there are comprehensive. We financed port and road construction as well as facilities for education. We are engaged in technical cooperation project, PROSAVANA, to increase agricultural productivity. JICA had long working experiences with our Brazilian counterparts in the development project of Cerado, once a barren land now transformed into one of the largest grain fields of the world. Based on these experiences, Japanese and Brazilian experts are working hand in hand with Mozambique farmers, especially small scale farmers, to introduce innovation in agricultural productivity in these areas along the Nacala corridor.

JICA actively promotes regional transport networking in southern Africa. We have financed Chirundu Bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe over Zambezi River. JICA also finances Kazungula Bridge which connects Zambia and Botswana over Zambezi River. We are also supporting reconstruction efforts of post-conflict countries such as Angola and Mozambique since late 1990s, and DRC and South Sudan since mid-2000s.

In the African Continent, JICA delivers 400 million dollars of technical cooperation, 400 million dollars of grant aid, and 800 million dollars of financial commitment to ODA loan projects every year. According to OECD/DAC data, Japan's aid performance measured in terms of ODA net disbursement is ranked 5th among DAC bilateral donors to Africa, and equivalent to that of African Development Bank.

When compared to other DAC bilateral donors, Japanese aid to Africa attaches roughly equal importance to economic and production sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture and industry with social sectors including education, health, and water. We do not neglect social sectors but we believe that development of economic infrastructure is criticl and that promoting intra-regional integration through supporting NEPAD and RECs, very important.

Some of you may have read the most recent Human Development Report prepared by the UNDP. The title is "the Rise of the South". According to this report, the rise of the South is both the result of continual human development investments and achievements, and an opportunity for still greater human progress for the world as a whole. Over the last decade, all countries accelerated their achievements in the education, health and income dimensions. No country for which data was available had a lower Human Development Index in 2012 than in 2000. Investing in people's capabilities through health, education and other public services is an integral part of the growth.

Africa is also making progress in this aspect. However, many countries in Sub-Sahara Africa may find it difficult to achieve many of the MDGs by 2015. We are determined to support African efforts to achieve the MDGs. According to OECD/DAC data, Japanese aid commitment to health, education and water sectors in Africa has been increasing in recent years; from 369 million US dollars in 2008 to 691 million US dollars in 2011. In the last five years, JICA supported training of 800,000 math and science teachers and 220,000 health and medical workers. In the same period, JICA also financed safe water supply projects for 10,000,000 people in total.

In my view, the growth center of the world economy is now beginning to shift from the Pacific region to a much broader area which I call the Indo-Pacific region. In the Pacific region, Japan, the United States, China, and Korea are the current economic powers. When we see the Indian Ocean region, we find more new economic powers emerging whose potential are yet to be fully developed, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar in addition to India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. As the Indo-Pacific becomes the broader region of economic dynamism, African countries will be much more important for Japan in the coming decades, as growing business partners with a huge potential market.

Obviously, we should not forget about serious challenges that Africa faces. Let me point out several principles.

The first principle is inclusive development. As I said, before, JICA has been emphasizing the importance of economic infrastructure but this is because we believe the right kind of infrastructure is critical in order to disseminate the fruits of growth to all segments of society. In agriculture, we emphasize the importance of including smallholder farmers in our projects. In education, we emphasize the importance of science and math for both boys and girls. In health, we emphasize the importance of hospital services clean and safe for mothers and babies.

The second principle is sustainable growth. Africa is in need of energy. The access to electricity is a huge challenge. On the other hand, Africa is rich in many sources of energy. We need to create a system where energy produced in Africa should be utilized in Africa. The energy consumption should be friendly to environment. JICA emphasizes the importance of renewable energy. Where applicable, geothermal power production has great potential in Africa. The solar power production is also attractive in many countries.

The third principle is good governance. Man shall not live by bread alone. People in growing Africa deserve better governance. Good governance is accelerator of further growth. I believe that the private sector is critical for the future growth of Africa. But the private sector prospers only where governance of political, economic and social system is effective.

The fourth principle is human security. Although the number of civil wars decreased in recent years, violence continues in several countries. There are many post-conflict countries where development cooperation in line with peace-building needs are desperately needed. Japan can support African efforts to promote peace and stability in Africa. JICA staff working very hard shoulder to shoulder with Japan's peace keepers in South Sudan. We focus on peace building efforts in post-conflict stage to help countries shift seamlessly from humanitarian relief stage to development stage, and to prevent them from returning back to conflict. It is also critical to support neighboring countries to avoid regional spillover risk of conflict.

Finally, Japan should promote business partnership between Africa and Japan. As the global growth center is shifting to the Indo-Pacific region, Japanese business community is focusing their eyes on Africa. JICA will continue to support Africa in enabling business environment and building infrastructure to promote private investment from Japan to Africa. In addition to business sector, other non-state actors such as civil societies, academics, artists, entertainers and athletes, etc. are also invited to jointly promote Africa-Japan partnership.

In 2010, when the Soccer World Cup took place here in South Africa, JICA, UNDP and Sony, a Japanese electronics maker, jointly organized the events of "Public-Viewing in Africa" in remote areas in Ghana and Cameroon, where people had no access to TV. This event also aimed at providing HIV/AIDS anti-infection measures and knowledge to the local populations gathering to the events in collaboration with a local NGO Ghana Family Planning Association. In total, 26 games were broadcasted by Public-Viewing, 24,000 people joined the events and 4,800 received HIV/AIDS health check.

In this event, JICA and UNDP provided their basis of operation in the country-level, the NGO provided its local network and know-how, and Sony provided its technology voluntarily. This episode of a joint project by mixed characters encourages us to further link Africa and Japan across the Indo-Pacific Oceans and strengthen ties between us through collaboration with more various stakeholders.

Thank you.

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