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JICA USA September/October 2014

JICA President Tanaka attends high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly

PhotoJICA President Akihiko Tanaka speaks about the importance of sustainable urban development.

Of focus during his week-long visit were JICA's role and contribution on climate change, African development and health indicators

Promoting sustainable cities

At Climate Summit 2014, held on September 23, 2014 Dr. Tanaka participated in a discussion on low-carbon urban development that is resilient to climate change. Heads of major local governments from around the world, including the governor of California, the mayor of Seoul and the mayor of Paris, declared their resolve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to defeat climate change. Alongside local governments' announced measures, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka talked from the standpoint of a development assistance institution that supports initiatives of developing countries and cities. He spoke about JICA's funding policy assistance and capacity building activities, as well as JICA's cooperation with other agencies through the International Development Finance Club[1], to which JICA belongs. He also announced JICA's participation in the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance[2], a new initiative launched at this summit aimed at helping cities become more resilient and sustainable.

The importance of infrastructure development in Africa

On September 24, 2014 Dr. Tanaka attended a meeting on infrastructure development in Africa hosted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The president of Ghana, the prime minister of Ethiopia and other participating representatives from the chair countries of the Regional Economic Communities voiced their perspectives on the challenges of infrastructure in Africa. As the last speaker, Dr. Tanaka touched on the following JICA initiatives: 1) assisting long-term African-led development strategies such as Program for Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA), 2) promoting corridor development and formulation of strategic master plans announced at the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), 3) building soft infrastructure such as One Stop Border Posts, 4) human resource development through the African Business Education (ABE) Initiative[3] to enhance infrastructure project management, and 5) the importance of using Japanese technology and promoting investment through public-private partnerships.

In his concluding remarks, he gave his assurance that JICA will continue to support the efforts of African countries to develop infrastructure, which is the driving force behind African economic development. In particular, he talked about investments in Ghana's combined cycle thermal power station (total project cost of 90 billion yen) through a public-private partnership with a major Japanese company that was announced just before the meeting. He called it a good example of Japan-Africa business partnership with concerted Japanese support, which JICA also contributed to by facilitating contact between Japanese investors and African development finance institutions. Participants expressed appreciation for these initiatives.

Initiatives to improve health indicators

On September 24, 2014 Dr. Tanaka also participated in a high-level meeting, co-chaired by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, with representatives from institutions involved in global health. Since last year's General Assembly, a multi-agency working group has had a series of discussions on making health indicators more effective to reduce the reporting burden on developing countries. As a result of these discussions, stakeholders agreed on a standard set of core health indicators. Dr. Tanaka spoke about how Japan plans to participate in the International Health Partnership Plus, which is becoming more important as an assistance platform in the field of global health, including with regard to core health indicators.

PhotoJICA promises to continue supporting efforts for infrastructure development in Africa.


Notes

  • [1] The International Development Finance Club is an international network made up of 22 national, international and regional development finance institutions from both developed countries and emerging nations. With their activities centered on the field of green finance, members work together to research and carry out joint projects and advocate in international society.
  • [2] Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance is an international alliance to expand the mobilization of funds for urban infrastructure development that is low-carbon and resilient to climate change. Local governments, public and private development finance institutions, NGOs and think tanks participate.
  • [3] The African Business Education (ABE) Initiative for the Youth was proposed at TICAD V. It is an initiative based on public-private partnerships in which young, talented Africans are selected to study at Japanese universities and intern at Japanese companies. Graduates are also given the chance to build valuable networks that will be beneficial to their future careers. Participants in the program will play a critical role in developing lasting connections between African and Japanese businesses.

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