Japan to foster better development in Africa

Samuel Okocha, Lagos

Africa has been seen as a continent revolutionising into self-sustainability and moving from aid reliance.

With support from Japan and other development partners, the Royal African Society (RAS) hosted an event entitled “Japan and Africa: A new kind of relationship” in association with the government of Japan.

The RAS is Britain’s leading African organisation with global reach. Now more than 100 years old, it fosters a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world.

The event was a forerunner to the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya from August 27-28, the first ever TICAD summit to be held in Africa.

The event featured two renowned practitioners in the field of international development, discussing the future of Africa.

A Professor at the University of Tokyo and former President of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), Akihiko Tanaka, during a conversation with Charles Boamah, CFO and Vice President of the African Development Bank at the event, said he believes that African countries will become invaluable to Japan in the coming decades, as growing business partners with huge market potential.

Professor Tanaka said: “Economic performance in Africa has been great over the last 10 to 15 years. Based on such performance, on the part of Japan, we would like to deepen our consultations so that we are able to find mutually beneficial approaches.”

“In the next meeting in Nairobi, we have to agree on a continuation of what has been successful and what are needed. This means we need to continue to emphasise development in new infrastructure including energy, electricity and continued emphasis in agriculture in Africa.”

He further stated that, “We need to strengthen the trend of African development in the first decade of the 21st Century – improving human capacity, developing infrastructure and encouraging the private sector to increase investment. To do this, we need to improve efforts to deal with the decline in prices of primary products like oil; strengthen primary healthcare and tackle the forces of violent extremism which have spread to parts of Africa.”

During his remarks, he spelled out his four-point plan for Africa:

  • Sustainable growth – What is consumed in Africa should be produced in Africa.
  • Inclusive development – The importance of economic infrastructure.
  • Good governance – An accelerator of growth.
  • Security – Although the number of civil wars has decreased, people are still at risk from terrorism and violence.

The Vice President of the African Development Bank , Charles Boamah said: “The priorities must be: to light up and power Africa, tackling the energy deficit; to feed Africa, looking at the whole food chain and improving productivity in agriculture; to industrialise Africa, tackling its low contribution to industrial trade; to integrate Africa, improving intra-regional trade and to improve the quality of lives of Africans, in terms of jobs and skills.

 “These must be done according to the principles behind TICAD – ownership and partnership. TICAD and Japan have always recognised that development starts with ownership of the process by Africans, with support from our partners and friends.”

Japan has now maintained a commitment to promoting peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnerships for over 20 years.

The emphasis of this partnership has always been on African ownership of Africa’s future and ensuring that global commitments from the international community are upheld.

TICAD is a conference held every three years in Japan with the objective of promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.

It has maintained an evolving role in Japan’s long-term commitment to fostering peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnerships and has been in existence since 1993.