Statement by Ambassador Jun Yamazaki,
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
At the General Debate of the General Assembly
On the New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and
international support; Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa
New York, 25 October 2013
At the outset, Japan would like to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive reports (A/68/222 and A/68/220)
Today, Africa is achieving strong and steady growth. In 2012, the average annual economic growth rate on the African continent was 6.6 percent.
On the other hand, Africa still faces various challenges including conflict and poverty. We must urgently strengthen our efforts to work with Africa so that it can take full advantage of its natural resources and growing population to realize economies and societies from which all people on the continent can benefit, including the socially vulnerable. We must also strengthen efforts to realize resilient societies against natural disasters such as droughts and other crises arising from economic and social changes. Needless to say, we must also recognize that peace and stability provides the foundation for Africa’s development.
Japan had the privilege to host the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June this year. This conference was co-organized with the United Nations, the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. Since 1993, the TICAD process has been promoting African development by emphasizing both the ownership by African countries and partnership of the international community, including Japan. Since the launch of NEPAD in 2001, the TICAD process has been contributing to the realization of the priorities of NEPAD, serving as an important framework for partnership. With the support of the increasing number of co-organizers as mentioned above, TICAD has grown into an international forum with participants from African and partner countries, international and regional organizations, the private sector and civil society.
2013 was indeed a special year to hold TICAD V, as it marked the 10th anniversary of African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), the 20th anniversary of the TICAD process and the 50th anniversary of OAU/AU. The outcome documents of TICAD V; the “Yokohama Declaration 2013” and the “Yokohama Action 2013-2017” align the Conference agenda for the coming five years with the continental priority objectives and initiatives of the African Union and NEPAD. As the Report of the Secretary-General (A/68/222) has stated, such alignment will foster implementation of continental programmes in ways that enable Africa to meet its development needs effectively and ensure African ownership and leadership of its development agenda.
Also at TICAD V, Japan committed to provide assistance package for Africa, utilizing private and public means up to 32 billion USD, including ODA of 14 billion USD. Emphasis is on infrastructure development and human resources development; areas where African countries and the Japanese private sector showed strong interest. For their part, African countries committed themselves to making infrastructure development their top priority through the Programme of Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), as mentioned in the report of the Secretary-General. In order to strengthen and diversify sectors that will foster robust and sustainable growth, Japan strongly supports PIDA by utilizing its financial assistance amounting to 6.5 billion USD for infrastructure.
What Africa needs now is private sector investment. Japan will leverage private investment in Africa by Public Private Partnership (PPP), including provision of public finances.
Agriculture and food security are also key issues in Africa. In particular, rural development, with special care for women and smallholder farmers, also contributes to poverty eradication. Japan welcomes the fact that African countries are collectively committed, through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), to annually increasing their agricultural productivity by 6% and allocating 10% of their national budgets toward agricultural investment. Along with that initiative, Japan will continue to support the efforts of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD), which seeks to double rice production in Sub-Saharan Africa to 28 million tons by 2018. Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe held a summit roundtable on agricultural development with the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), NEPAD and TICAD co-organizers during the high-level week of the General Assembly in September and reaffirmed the strategic approach of TICAD V to empower farmers as mainstream economic actors.
Climate change is another serious issue, as many of Africa’s major economic sectors such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries are being increasingly severely impacted by it. Africa’s efforts to address climate change include the African Strategy on Climate Change and African Drought Risk Preparedness and Resilience. Japan has been contributing to this effort through ODA projects including the African Adaptation Program (AAP). Japan also made a commitment of financial support on the occasion of TICAD V amounting to 2 billion USD to promote low-carbon energy.
Health constitutes the foundation of human development for growth, and progress in the field of health is essential to meet the MDGs. The Yokohama Declaration decided that Universal Health Coverage (UHC) should be promoted throughout Africa. Japan will promote Universal Health Coverage in Africa with the goal that all people will be able to receive basic health services. At TICAD V, Japan announced that it has set aside 500 million USD to address health issues in Africa, and has been setting up training programmes for some 120,000 health and medical service providers. Also, in his address to General Assembly in September, Prime Minister Abe announced his intention to make an appropriate contribution at the upcoming fourth replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
TICAD has made clear that peace and stability are fundamental prerequisites for socio-economic development in Africa. African initiatives such as the African Peace and Security Architecture, in close cooperation with RECs, and APRM play a pivotal role in peacekeeping in Africa. Japan will assist APRM and other programmes to promote good governance in 30 countries. Also, Japan will assist the capacity of the AU/RECs to implement their initiatives on peace and stability including financial support to funds.
Human security is an effective approach that focuses on individuals and helps build societies in which everyone can live with dignity by protecting and empowering individuals and communities that are exposed to actual or potential threats. A General Assembly resolution on human security was adopted by consensus last year. Japan is determined to contribute to further promoting human security in all parts of the world in collaboration with all stakeholders. This is true in the case of Africa, since human security was included as one of the overarching principles in the Yokohama Declaration 2013.
TICAD V welcomed the AUC as a new co-organizer, which made TICAD, in a true sense, an African-owned, African-led and African-managed process, in cooperation with the UN system, the World Bank and Japan. Japan sincerely hopes to strengthen both the ownership of African countries and partnership with development partners in the TICAD process. We are also considering ways in which civil society and the private sector, whose involvement are critical for long-term self-sustained development of Africa, can be further incorporated into this process.
Let me conclude my statement by reaffirming Japan’s unwavering long term commitment to African development.
Thank you very much.