April 10, 2017
Amb. Koro Bessho
TICAD VI Follow-up Event: Achieving the SDGs in Africa through Structural Transformation
Co-hosts: Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN, JICA, UNDP, Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD)
Location:United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA
Dr. Naohiro Kitano Director of JICA-RI
H.E. Mr. Koro Bessho, Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN
Dr. Naohiro Kitano, Director, JICA-RI
Ms. Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, Deputy Regional Director for Africa, Regional Bureau for Africa , UNDP
Ms. Beatrice Pacunega Manano, Chief of the Policy Analysis and Monitoring Branch, Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA)
Prof. Joseph Stiglitz, Columbia University
Dr. Go Shimada, JICA-RI
Dr. Akio Hosono, Senior Research Advisor, JICA-RI
Nobel Laureate Professor Stiglitz
In August 2016, the TICAD VI (Tokyo International Conference for African Development) was held in Nairobi. The side event held in TICAD VI, "Africa's Transformation through Industrial Policies and Implementing Agenda 2063" provided some insights on the present economy as well as how Africa can move towards industrialization, and also questioned the appropriate measurements to capture sustainable growth.
2. Objective of the Event
Following-up the discussion held in TICAD VI, the aim of this event was threefold. The event underpinned the philosophy of the "Nairobi Declaration", as well as referred to the SDGs:
l To discuss the challenges and possibilities of structural transformation in Africa
l To shed light on the issue of measurement; such as how to measure social progress through alternative and complementary measurements to GDP.
l To launch "Efficiency, Finance and Varieties of Industrial Policy", a publication from the joint research by JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI) and Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD), published in November 2016.
In his opening remarks, Ambassdor Koro Bessho of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN touched upon the theme "Quality Africa" which TICAD VI envisions and the importance of structural transformation to realize this. He also stressed that TICAD's mid to long term goals will contribute to the attainment of the SDGs.
In his keynote speech, Dr. Naohiro Kitano, Director of JICA Research Institute (JICA-RI) emphasized the main message of the latest book by JICA and IPD, that combining various industrial policies from nurturing human resource, promoting infrastructure development and development finance is key to realizing structural transformation. He also shared the two priority pillars of support by JICA to realize Africa's structural transformation: First, strengthening the foundation for a robust business environment in Africa.
And second, nurturing high-skilled human resources in Africa through education, vocational training and the KAIZEN(*) approach.
(*) KAIZEN is a process which means "continuous improvement" in Japanese and is said to be the "Toyota production system".
In his keynote speech, Nobel Laureate Professor Stiglitz commented on how JICA effectively reflects the experience of the East Asian miracle to support development countries. He stressed the importance of a "learning society" that fills the learning gap between developed and develoing countries and a government that implements effective industrial policies for structural transformation.
In the panel discussion, Dr. Go Shimada, Visiting Scholar of JICA-RI moderated the discussion on how Africa can realize structural transformation, and how to evaluate progress through appropriate measurements. Dr. Akio Hosono, Senior Research Advisor of JICA-RI shed light on the importance of the learning capacity of a country, as well as the soft and hard infrastructure and the capacity of institutions to create dynamic comparative advantages for stuructural transformation. Professor Stiglitz concluded that creating a learning society is most crucial for Africa's structural transformation, and also referred to the limitation of GDP to measure the true well-being of the society.