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Speech Transcripts

September 26, 2013

Speech at Japan - African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Summit Roundtable: Boosting Sustainable Agricultural Growth for Inclusive and Dynamic Development in Africa

United Nations Headquarters, New York, the United States

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD V, has closed as a historical success. Now it is the time to implement its action plan. For JICA, Japan's comprehensive development institution, it is OUR mission to materialize the principles of TICAD V and to achieve the Japanese commitments announced in this important forum for Africa.

Today, as JICA President, I would like to share with you, on this honorable occasion, the progress JICA has made to promote agricultural development in Africa.

1. Potentials and challenges of the agriculture in Africa

As Prime Minister Abe and NEPAD CEO Dr. Mayaki have illustrated, Africa has great agricultural potential. Agriculture is an engine of growth, a source of wealth and also a catalyst to promote poverty reduction.

We have no doubt that agriculture is quite important in Africa. However, there still remain a lot of challenges, such as improving productivity, increasing investment, assuring food security, and adapting to climate change.

Now we should recall that next year, 2014, is the AU year of "Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition", and CAADP aims to achieve annual agricultural growth rates of 6% over the next decade.

JICA is fully committed to supporting CAADP to be a more relevant and more strategic framework and to show tangible results of agricultural development in Africa.

2. "Three arrows" to support agricultural development in Africa

JICA's strategy consists of "three arrows" to support Africa's agricultural sector.

First is the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment Promotion, called "SHEP". As Prime Minister Abe stated during TICAD V, we would like to support farmers to facilitate the transition from agriculture that enables them to eat to agriculture that enables them to earn money. The Prime Minister also announced the promotion of the "SHEP" approach in at least 10 African countries. Following this directive, JICA is preparing a workshop in Japan next year to invite key African agricultural policy-makers to promote Africa-Japan collaboration on the SHEP approach. SHEP is also a powerful instrument to empower African women. It requires female farmers to join, on every occasion, meetings and trainings to deepen their understanding and take concrete actions on "farming as business".

The second arrow is the "Coalition for African Rice Development", called "CARD". Japan committed at TICAD IV in 2008 to help double the annual rice production in sub-Saharan Africa from 14 million tons in 2008 to 28 million tons in 2018. Progress so far is quite good. Rice production in 2011 has reached 21 million tons, representing a 50% increase and steady progress toward the 2018 target. This September, JICA invited high-level officials working at agricultural ministries of CARD member countries to strengthen the linkage between CAADP and respective National Rice Development Strategies.

The third and final arrow is to promote agricultural investment in Africa. JICA's program in Mozambique's Nacala Corridor represents an inclusive development approach by seeking to harmonize and optimize the expected benefits among farmers, private partners and the government. This inclusive point of view includes i) agricultural development as core projects, ii) infrastructure development, such as roads and ports construction to promote private investment, iii) social development, such as education and healthcare to support local farmers and rural populations. JICA also supports the government, local communities and civil society to facilitate communication and understanding on how to share and enjoy the fruits from this approach.

3. Conclusion

Before concluding my statement, I would like to recall our strong expectation: the African Union, NEPAD, and Regional Economic Communities will play a substantial and essential role to materialize CAADP and the Maputo Declaration, in order to achieve annual agricultural growth rates of 6% by 2015 and to allocate 10% of national budgets to agricultural development. For this, development partners such as JICA will spare no effort to continue assisting Africa.

Lastly, I would like to assure you again that JICA is fully committed to supporting Africa's development efforts, in particular, for "empowering farmers as mainstream economic actors" as agreed in TICAD V.

Thank you very much.


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