28 August 2016
The Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, has described Africa as the biggest frontier of the 21st century.
Abe said in his message to the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi that the conference was a process in which Africa drew a blueprint for its development.
The Japanese premier explained TICAD was the most traditional forum with African countries launched by Japan to promote development on the continent.
“Having the highest economic growth rate among the major regions of the world, Africa needs the vitality of the private sector first and foremost to develop even further.
“Under the principle of ‘From Aid to Trade and from Debt to Investment,’ the Japanese private and public sectors will support the development of Africa, led by Africans themselves.
“Currently, the `African dream’ is being crystallised in the form of ‘Agenda 2063,’ he said.
Abe said that TICAD was an opportunity for Africa to present its own `African dream’ and work hand-in-hand with Japan to realise what it aims to become in the near future.
To realise the ‘African dream,’ Abe said that Japan would contribute to two of the key pillars of the agenda in particular, which would be addressed in depth at the Nairobi conference.
“First, the development of quality infrastructure is imperative. Infrastructure is essential for growth and therefore, it is necessary to have high quality and longevity of infrastructure.
“Japan will provide the African continent with quality infrastructure according to the needs of each country.
“At the same time, Japan will work on establishing healthcare systems to protect people’s lives.
“Japan will promote the realisation of universal health coverage in Africa as well,” he said.
The prime minister’s address was contained in a statement from the Embassy of Japan in Abuja.
The statement also quoted President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya as saying that TICAD would afford African leaders an important opportunity to monitor the progress and implementation of previous agreements.
Kenyatta said the letter and spirit of previous TICAD agreements remained “that ever-great need to speed up the growth and development of Africa’’.
“The TICAD initiative and process has clearly given Kenya and Africa one of the most important global platforms for re-focusing our quest for development among other critical issues.
“These critical issues include the contemporary world threat posed by violent extremism.
“Indeed, TICAD’s traditional focus on the critical livelihood issues, notably economic growth, agriculture and farming as well as social stability do themselves remain as important,” he said.