Speech at the 3rd Japan-African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Summit Roundtable


United Nations Headquarters, New York, the United States


On behalf of Japan International Cooperation Agency, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude for all insights that you showed today. They are really useful to prepare TICAD for TICAD VI in Nairobi next year. Reflecting upon today's discussion, I wish to make five points.

First, the challenges Africa faces now. As Prime Minister Abe noted in his remarks, in the two years since TICAD V, Africa has faced many new challenges, including the Ebola outbreak, violent extremism, and the decline of commodity prices.

However, African leaders have expressed political commitment to tackling and overcoming fragility, in line with the vision outlined in Agenda 2063. They have vowed to advance long-term sustainable development through transformation and enhancing resilience. TICAD VI will be the first TICAD summit to be held in Africa, and it will present the opportunity to gain global support for this effort. As the chair of the G7 summit in 2016, Japan is in a good position to facilitate this momentum.

My second point; ownership of Africa. Since its inception, TICAD has always supported an African Agenda. You may recall that at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit of 2000, acting upon a request from African Heads of State, Japan facilitated the first meeting between African and G8 leaders. This created an opportunity to introduce the foundation of a partnership that would eventually become NEPAD. Likewise, TICAD and JICA's cooperation are aligned with African-led initiatives such as PIDA and CAADP.

For example, JICA supports the implementation of PIDA through One Stop Border Post projects and Corridor Master Plans in collaboration with RECs. As Mr. Mayaki mentioned, 76 OSBP plans in Africa are now showing concrete results, and JICA is compiling and sharing best practice and lessons learned with our partners. These efforts contribute to economic integration and work towards establishing the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

My third point; the necessity of human resource development. Based on our experiences in Japan, we are convinced that human resource development is critical for any development, for any sustainable development, anywhere. That is why JICA has prioritized hands-on technical cooperation in Africa for the past 60 years.

Our efforts include the dispatch of Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, investing in Math and Science Education, providing Vocational Training, and administering the ABE Initiative, a scholarship program for students from Africa to get their Masters in universities in Japan.

Other examples of our assistance include the Coalition for African Rice Development, or CARD, in which we support Sub-Saharan Africa to double rice production between 2008 and 2018, and the introduction of the KAIZEN method in local businesses to increase their productivities. These projects may be referred to as "Japan Brand ODA in Africa."

My fourth point; challenges to TICADVI. In order to continue further growth in Africa, it is necessary to address vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience. From a longer-term perspective, creating jobs, increasing productivity, and narrowing income gaps are critical to accelerating inclusive and sustainable development. Also, Africa should create an economy not overly dependent on limited number of commodities whose prices fluctuate in a very volatile manner. In other words, it is essential for Africa to transform the current economic structure.

Therefore, we consider "transformation and resilience" are central challenges to TICADVI. And we cannot have "transformation and resilience" without industrialization. Together with Columbia University, we host a seminar on industrial development in Africa next Monday. We are looking forward to further discussion on the necessity and potential of industrialization in Africa.

Fifth and Finally; Africa-Japan business partnership. Through providing advanced technology and investing in human resources, Japanese companies are now contributing to development in Africa.

For example, with support from JICA, the Kenyan government worked with Toyota Tsusho and Toshiba Corporation to increase Kenya's power generating capacity by 280 MW, equivalent to 20% of the total national generating capacity. In South Africa, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, or MHPS, installed and handed over the first boiler of 800 MW at the Medupi Power station to ESKOM last month. MHPS will install 11 more boilers, thereby reaching a total of 9,600 MW of generating capacity by 2020.

These projects are implemented alongside technology transfers and training programs supported by JICA. These business partnerships are contributing to the industrial development of Africa through sustainable power capacity development.

We believe that TICAD VI will further accelerate mutually beneficial business partnerships between Africa and Japan, as Mr. Adesina mentioned. As Prime Minister Abe said Japan wishes to collaborate with Africa so that "Made in Africa," will become a brand recognized throughout the world.

Thank you very much.

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