Japanese Investment in Africa

After the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V)  in Japan earlier this year, a meeting was held at the UN headquarters on the effect that TICAD V will have on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). When the goals expire in 2015, UN officials will need to assess the efficacy of the different goals and evaluate how to move forward. Japan has joined the conversation regarding post-2015 goals, and in particular, is looking to invest in Africa in hopes of creating future partnerships.

Africa is home to 34 of the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries (LDC), and Japan sees investment in these countries as vital in order to achieve meaningful and sustainable development. According to Babacar Cisse, Deputy Regional Director for the United Nations Development Program’s Regional Bureau for Africa, “The discussions and recommendations emerging from TICAD are expected to feed into the global discussions on post-2015.”

As a result of TICAD V, the Yokohama Declaration 2013 and the Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017 were established, and these programs will use hindsight to build upon the shortcomings of the MDGs in preparation for the post-2015 development goals. Regarding policy areas, TICAD looks to focus on boosting economic growth, ensuring human security and addressing environmental issues and climate change. In order to achieve these goals, TICAD V outlined three main principles for African development: involving Africa in its own development agenda while providing international support, using the current MDGs as precursors to sustained development, and pledging $32 billion in Japanese aid to achieve the first two principles through strengthening and empowering young African leaders.

Advocates and scholars view this plan as a change from previous discussions about African development and helping LDCs. TICAD V is an African-specific development declaration, and addresses developing leadership among youth and building trade, areas that are not currently covered by the MDGs or current post-2015 plan. Furthermore, the plan promotes the involvement of experts from different fields and perspectives, in addition to backing its ideas with financial support. “The Action Plan also highlights the importance of private sector development, infrastructure, agricultural transformation, and employment creation,” said Cisse. As the international community prepares to put forward post-2015 development goals, TICAD V serves as an example of how the African continent can see positive development in the future.

Chloe Isacke

Sources: AllAfrica, TICAD
Photo: GaboNews