The Gist of Proposals for TICAD VI

The following is the gist of Proposals for TICAD VI, launched jointly by the Africa Society of Japan and the Association of African Economy and Development, in June 2016
Establishing a “TICAD Center”
and a “Japan-Africa Partnership Fund”
I. TICAD – New Factors and Changes
A) Africa today and tomorrow
In the past too many African nations were often the victims of negative images and bad political policies, but in the 21 century more and more countries are enjoying sustained economic growth, improved political stability and democratic governance, and have overcome debilitating civil wars and conflicts. Such favorable developments across the continent have raised the international community’s expectations concerning Africa as the world’s “Huge Growth Center” and “Last Frontier”.
  
Indeed, at the moment, many African economies are going through difficult times: falls in commodity prices, the impact of economic slowdowns in major trading partners such as China and Europe, and so forth. Problems such as pandemics, local conflicts, and the rampage of extremists and terrorists continue to afflict some African countries, and continue to concern the international community.
  
However, many African countries, particularly those in Sub-Sahara, are exerting hard efforts to deal with these problems and challenges, holding out the promise of high and sustained growth in the future. In the mid- to long-term, Africa’s economic importance in the world can only increase, not decrease, due to its rich natural resources, expanding population, and market potentials. Politically, the continent will be a powerful force in the United Nations and elsewhere.
  
These are all good reasons why, going forward, the international community should and will maintain robust engagement with Africa, assist African countries to overcome their problems and vulnerabilities, and support them to help achieve high and sustained growth and prosperity.
  
B) TICAD today and tomorrow
After the end of the Cold War, many Western powers began to lessen their presence in Africa, but Japan came forward in 1993 with an initiative to start up the process of TICAD as a forum for development policy dialogue, consultations, and assistance undertakings between Japan and African countries. International organizations, such as the World Bank, the UNDP, and the African Union, also joined in the process as partners.
  
In particular, through the TICAD process Japan led the way to firmly ground the concept of “ownership” and “partnership” in promoting African development. This initiative has been received well by African partners, and they entrust Japan to continue to play an active role in African development, both through the ODA and with increased private-sector participation.
  
In the meantime, the world has witnessed the emergence and the multiplication of “TICAD-type” policies and dialogue forums set up by several donors, including emerging ones, such as China, ROK, India, Turkey, and Brazil, as well as the US and the EU, resulting in a sort of increased competition among them over Africa.

  
Another important development: the modalities of TICAD have shifted from the heretofore “once-every-five-years, to be held in Japan”, to a new pattern of “once-every-three-years, to be held alternately in Japan and in Africa”.
  
These new developments and changes would make it necessary for Japan to develop a new strategy for TICAD, in particular to strengthen its coping capacity so as to complement the existing arrangements and to improve its performance. The forthcoming TICAD VI, in Nairobi in August, will be a good opportunity to launch a new initiative along this line.
  
II. Establishing a TICAD Center
The way forward should include innovative measures such as:
 - Reinforcing Japan’s information and analysis capacity with regards to the development needs of African countries, individually and in sub-regions;
 - Strengthening the follow-up mechanism of TICAD commitments;
 - Improving TICAD’s public relations activities;
 - Institutionalizing communications and information exchanges with TICAD’s main co-organizer, the African Union (AU), and its technical arm, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD);
 - Setting up an all-Japan type of communications network, incorporating the government, relevant public agencies, universities, research centers, and business circles to facilitate and improve information-sharing and to promote public-private partnership.
  
To achieve these objectives, a “TICAD Center” (hereinafter, the Center) is proposed to be established, with a mission to serve as the core body, in particular through strengthening Japan’s public-private partnership and improving information-sharing among the key stakeholders with interests and commitments in Africa.
  

The Center will seek to expand the mobilization of the human and intellectual resources available in Japan and in Africa, including those African students and technical trainees who have had experiences studying and training in Japan.
  
The proposed Center is envisaged to be established in Africa, with its support office in Japan, and will function in close collaboration with the African institutions, in particular the AU and NEPAD, as well as the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), as appropriate.
  
The establishment of the Center and related practical issues (location, modalities, etc.) will need to be closely consulted with the AU Commission, and eventually agreed upon in an MOU between the parties.
  
III. Establishing a TICAD Partnership Fund
It is also proposed that an appropriate Partnership Fund (for example, a “Japan-Africa Partnership Fund for Ownership-based Development”, JAPFOD), be established at the AU to support the Center’s activities.
  
The Fund to be established should also support those African and Japanese projects and programs that will promote endeavors such as public-private collaboration, investment and trade, and regional integration, based on the concept of partnership and ownership.
  
In creating a Partnership Fund and new institutional arrangements via the Center, in collaboration with the AU authorities, Japan’s past experience and lessons of developing and maintaining a wide-ranging relationship with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the history of various existing Funds, such as the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund, the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund, and the relevant institutional arrangements between Japan and ASEAN, could be referenced where appropriate and useful.
  
Moreover, in addition to governmental supervisions, the “Japan-AU Parliamentary Friendship Association” is expected to provide appropriate advice and guidance over the Center’s activities and the implementation of the Partnership Fund.

  
IV. Promoting an All-Japan Approach to TICAD
The proposed Center and Fund are meant to complement and, thereby, strengthen the existing arrangements and mechanisms of TICAD, not substitute for them, and should serve to help open up 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.
  
For inquiries:
Mr. Kenzo Oshima
Managing Director
The Africa Society of Japan
TEL: 03-5408-3462
FAX: 03-5408-3462
E-mail: info@africasociety.or.jp