The Gist of Proposals for TICAD7
“TICAD Information Center” and
“Japan-Africa Partnership Fund”
Africa: Today and Tomorrow
Admittedly, not a few of them are currently facing hard times and uncertainties due to various internal and external factors, and in some cases, risks and vulnerabilities such as pandemics, local conflicts, rampages of extremists and terrorists are causing alarms to the international community
However, despite these problems and challenges, Africa holds out the promise of high, sustained growth into the future, blessed with rich natural resources, favored by expanding middle-class, increasing population growth and urbanization, and big market potentials. These are all good reasons why, going forward the international community should and will maintain robust engagements with African countries so they can achieve a high and sustained growth and prosperity.
Japanese businesses have tended to be too cautious or slow in investing in Africa, due in part to geographical or psychological distances. But of late an increasing number of them, aware of the dynamic potentials that Africa offers. are more willing to take risks and move forward. They should not lag other competitors in this respect.
Through the TICAD process Japan led the way to ground the concept of “ownership” and “partnership” in promoting African development. This initiative has been welcomed by African partners, and they entrust Japan and the co-conveners to continue to play an active role in African development, both through ODA and, preferably, with more private-sector
Indeed, importantly, African government leaders have become more emphatic about the importance of, and the priority they attach to, private sector-led development and economic growth for Africa. While appreciating the role of traditional ODA, they now seek from Africa’s partners, including Japan, more private-sector participation in investment and trade,
so that diversification of economic structure, technology transfer, job creation, and industrialization can be fostered across the continent.
Another concurrent, significant development in the 21st Century has been the emergence and multiplication of “TICAD-type” consultation forums, set up by several major donor countries such as China, India, ROK, Turkey, the Gulf states, the US, as well as the EU. Especially China’s rapid, extensive inroads into Africa through FOCAC have drawn broad international attention. Even some of the emerging economies, including those from fast-developing Southeast Asia have started their advances to Africa.
This global rise of Africa’s development and business partners, and the ensuing competition among them, have led to an increasingly competitive environment for development cooperation and private-sector engagement with African countries.
TICAD7 will be taking place against such a background. Over a quarter of century since its inception, TICAD has gone through various evolutions. The latest of which is a change, since TICAD VI in 2016, in its modality whereby it is now held once every three years instead of five, alternately in Japan and in Africa. Another noteworthy event is the establishment of the Japanese Permanent Mission accredited to the African Union (AU) since January 2018.
Given the fast-changing, increasingly competitive environment over Africa as described above, it is considered necessary, and timely, for Japan to take further steps to strengthen its handling and coping capacity of TICAD by complementing the existing arrangements with additional practical and feasible measures, and even going further, by proving itself as a model for other forums. TICAD7, to be held in Yokohama in August 2019, will be a good opportunity to launch a new, innovative initiative.
Based on the above considerations, two specific proposals are hereby presented:
(a) Establishing a TCAD Information Center
(b) Establishing a Japan-Africa Partnership Fund
Union, in Addis Ababa), with a support office in Japan. The “Center” will function in close collaboration with the African institutions, especially the African Union Commission (AUC) and its development-focused organization: African Union Development Agency (AUDA, the successor to NEPAD).
The “Center” is proposed to function preferably as a publicprivate entity, with a mission to contribute to strengthening Japan’s public-private partnership in Africa, including better information-sharing and mobilization of the human and intellectual resources available in Japan and in Africa.
The role and function of the “Center” will include, but not
– Collecting and disseminating information that will help deepen the understanding of Africa for the benefit of Japanese audiences;
– By way of HP and other means, collect, analyze and provide information that will be useful for Japanese businesses interested in investing in Africa, including human resources information about African students with experience of studies and training in Japan (such as those under ABE initiative, JICA trainees, etc.);
– Improving communications and information sharing with African regional organizations and development financial institutions such as SADC, ECOWAS, AfDB, etc. as well as with TICAD’s main co-organizers and AUDA;
– Setting up an all-Japan type of communications network, involving government, relevant public agencies, universities, research centers, business circles, and NGOs, to facilitate and improve information-sharing and to promote public-private partnership.
In establishing the proposed “Fund”, Japan’s experiences and lessons learned from the wide-ranging relationship of cooperation and partnership with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), should be referenced where appropriate and useful. They include examples of the various existing Funds and arrangements, such as the “Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund”,
A flexible scheme of the “Fund” should be developed in such a way that the resources in the “Fund” will comprise not only the public funding but also contributions from the private sector. Part of the resources in the “Fund” should be made available for the management and operational costs of the “Center”.
The proposed “Center” and “Fund” are meant to complement with each other and strengthen the existing arrangements and mechanisms of TICAD, and they should serve to help open new vistas in the TICAD process, especially through increased private-sector engagement, investment and trade, in addition to development assistance.
In the search for an expanded Win-Win relationship between Japan and Africa, no effort should be spared on either side, and innovative approaches should be boldly explored in order to give the TICAD process fresh impetus and take it to new heights in the fast-changing world.
Relationship of cooperation and partnership between Japan and ASEAN
① Establishment of the Japan /ASEAN Center, as an
international organization by agreements between Japan
and each of ASEAN member states (1981)
② Establishment of the Japan/ASEAN Integration Fund
– Announced at Japan/ASEAN summit in 2005, with an
initial contribution of $ 70 million
– Subsequent contributions made, with a total of over $
– Fund purposes: promotion of ASEAN integration;
narrowing gaps within the group; promotion of Japan/
ASEAN cooperation, etc.
– Projects implemented so far: over 450
– The Fund is managed by a team: JAIF Management
Team, JMT, set up within the ASEAN Secretariat
③ Establishment of the Economic Research Institute for
ASEAN and East Asia, (“ERIA”), as a think tank, with 16
members (2008) (ASEAN10 states + Japan, China, ROK,
Australia, NZ, India), for research under 3 pillars:
– Deepening economic integration;
– Narrowing development gaps;
– Achieving sustainable development
④ Establishment of Japan’s Permanent Mission to ASEAN
Mr. Kenzo Oshima
The Africa Society of Japan