On 27-28 August, the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8) was held in Tunis, Tunisia. TICAD is a multilateral platform held every three years to discuss and mobilize support for Africa’s development, under the guiding principle of African ownership and international partnership, co-organized by the Japanese government, the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC). TICAD was launched in 1993.
TICAD 8 was attended by 48 African countries and approximately 100 business people from both Japan and Africa, respective economy ministers and development financial institutions.
With the crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, the focus of TICAD 8 was on how to realize; (i) sustainable economic growth and social development, (ii) a resilient and sustainable society and (iii) sustainable peace and stability in Africa.
The unprecedented impacts of the pandemic reminded the participants of the importance of “investing in people”, “the quality of growth” and the role of public private partnership towards Africa’s development.
Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio reiterated in his opening remarks that Japan will strongly support development in Africa as “a partner growing together with Africa” and announced Japan’s investment of US$30 billion as the sum of public and private financial contribution over the next three years.
This pledge is in line with the endorsed TICAD 8 Tunis Declaration, which will serve as a guidepost for future Japan-Africa relations and sustainable growth in post-COVID-19 Africa, and specifically as follows:
- To tackle climate change and extreme weather conditions, Japan will launch “Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa” to promote green growth, where Japan will contribute US$4 billion in both public and private sectors.
- To promote investment, with particular focus on start-up companies.
- To ensure that countries in need of financial recourse do not have to rely on unfair and opaque financing mechanisms, Japan will co-finance up to US$5 billion together with African Development Bank for sound debt management for Africa.
- In the area of human security, Japan will contribute US$08 billion toward the Global Fund over the next three years to support measures against the three major infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, and to strengthen health systems.
- Building human capital in strategic sectors continues to be important whereby Japan will work to cultivate more than 300,000 professionals in fields including industry, health, medicine, education, agriculture, justice and administration.
- In order to respond to the increasingly complex regional situation promptly, a special envoy for the “Horn of Africa” was appointed.
- Realizing sustainable peace and stability is of great importance and concern over the negative socio-economic impact caused by the situation in Ukraine which has created food insecurity in Africa, Japan will provide US$300 million to bolster food production through co-financing with the African Development Bank.
As is stated in the TICAD 8 Tunis Declaration, private sector investment is critical for Africa’s inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development. To discuss ways to strengthen business interactions between Japan and Africa, Business forum was held in line with TICAD 8, and 92 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) of businesses were concluded between Japanese companies and organizations with partners from African countries. Some MOU include clean energy technology such as hydrogen and fuel ammonia. The need for accelerating private investment in a just and fair transition towards alternative sources of energy against the backdrop of a significant increase in oil and gas prices was stated in the TICAD 8 Tunis Declaration.
During TICAD 8, Minister HAYASHI Yoshimasa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan held a bilateral meeting with Honourable Mrs. ‘Matŝepo MOLISE – RAMAKOAE, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of the Kingdom of Lesotho. They discussed, among others:
- Bilateral relations in light of last year’s 50th anniversary of diplomatic relationship, the intention of Japan to promote renewable energy development in Lesotho (by Minister Hayashi), the appreciation of Japan’s support for Lesotho and the hope for further support by Japan (by Minister Molise-Ramakoae).
- Regional and international issues such as Ukraine, North Korea, the NPT (Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) regime, food security, reform of the United Nations Security Council and the transparency and fairness of development finance.
Japan is committed to the TICAD process through its cooperation and is grateful for Lesotho’s enduring support towards this process. Recent examples of cooperation in the areas of education, agriculture, electricity power supply and health are:
- The construction and improvement of schools at primary and secondary level in all 10 provinces.
- The provision of a small Hydropower plant for the Katse Dam rehabilitation to promote renewable energy development.
- The provision of 5 fully equipped ambulances, a fire engine and X-ray machines.
- In response to the human security emergency, Japan provided Cold Chain Equipment through UNICEF to ensure the safe storage of Covid-19 vaccines.
- In response to the prolonged deterioration in food security and malnutrition in the country, Japan has continuously provided food aid to Lesotho through WFP, including tinned and fortified food for the past 18 years. The latest recent food aid grant signing ceremony, to the sum equivalent to 31 million Maloti, was held on 8 August, 2022 in the presence of Minister Molise-Ramakoae.
Last year, Japan and Lesotho marked the Milestone of their 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Japan expresses its sincere gratitude to the people of Lesotho for their continuous support in fostering a friendly Japan-Lesotho relationship. As indicated in the Tunis declaration, TICAD 9 will be held in Japan in 2025. Japan wishes to walk together bilaterally and in multilateral fora with Lesotho through the next 50 years and beyond as we enhance the ties built in the past 50 years. – EMBASSY OF JAPAN