TICAD: 20 Years
Piictured at the TICAD V Seminar held at the University of Pretoria, (l-r) Nepad CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, DBSA Senior Policy Analyst Mr David Monyae; JICA President Dr Akihiko Tanawa and; Japanese Ambassador Mr Yutaka Yoshizawa.
The Embassy of Japan together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the University of Pretoria hosted a seminar; The TICAD V: 20 Years of Partnership between Japan and Africa “Hand in Hand with a more Dynamic Africa”.
Keynote speakers were Dr. Akihiko Tanaka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, NEPAD Agency.
In 2013, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) celebrates its 20th anniversary.
TICAD was created in 1993 by Japan to promote regular high level dialogue between Africa and Japan.
Since its inception TICAD has been a major feature of Japan’s partnership with Africa, drawing from its own development experience and the role it played in the so called ‘East Asian Miracle’.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador of Japan, Mr Yutaka Yoshizawa outlined the progress of TICAD since its inception. He said that the intention was "not to impose policies or ideas". He added that there were 100 Japanese companies working in South Africa and collectively had created 150 000 jobs.
The main themes of TICAD V to be held in Yokohama from 1-3 June are, "Robust and Sustainable Economy"; "Inclusive and Resilient Society" and; "Peace and Stability".
South Africa was "a symbol of peaceful democratic transformation," said Dr Akihiko Tanaka, President, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA)in his keynote address.
He added that Africa was important to Japan and was seen as a "continent of opportunity".
He said that the "growth centre was shifting" from the Pacific region with countries such as Japan, US and Korea to what he called the "Indo-Pacific" region.
He said that among the development challenges that needed to be overcome were: inclusive infrastructure development; sustainable growth; good governance; human security and business partnerships. With regard to the latter he said the Japanese business community was looking keenly at South Africa. Dr Mayaki said,"...growth is not synonymous with transformation," pointing out that Africa is "still the most unequal continent in the world."
He added that two-thirds of Africa's population is under 25 and need to be the focus of development efforts.
Stating that NEPAD was the implementing arm of the African Union (AU), he explained how a continental strategy had been developed which channelled resources towards regional imperatives.
In the preamble to the panel discussion, Mr David Monyae, Senior Policy Analyst at the Development Bank of Southern Africa said that "70-80 % of all efforts" of the AU are externally funded. He felt that JICA could help the AU to "graduate" from this situation.
Meanwhile, both the situation in Africa and the global economic structure has changed significantly since the 2000s.