Nigeria has called for increased trade ties between Japan and Africa, saying trade is critical to sustaining economic growth.
Arc Sambo, representing President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Summit observed the trade imbalance between Japan and Africa as regards Japan with countries under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN countries), stressing that if Africa was to sustain her recent economic development, the expansion of trade within the continent and also with the rest of the world, including Japan, was critical.
“While the value of total two-way trade between Japan and ASEAN countries was over US$205 Billion in 2012, trade between Japan and Africa was a paltry US$29 Billion in the same period. To enhance the level of trade between Africa and Japan, therefore, there is an urgent need to promote private sector interface between Japan and Africa under TICAD, ” he stated.
He however, acknowledged the giant strides achieved under TICAD, since its inception in 1993, particularly in Nigeria in the areas of rural water supply, basic education, health care delivery, rural electrification and women empowerment, among others.
” For us in Africa, this is a momentous period. Indeed, we salute the strides that we have made together under the auspices of the TICAD process and express deep appreciation to Japan for its support and steadfastness. We note with gratitude, the zeal of Japan to Africa’s cause and acknowledge that Japan has faithfully implemented the assistance it pledged to Africa under TICAD IV.”
Vice President Sambo used the opportunity to call on Japan under TICAD V to further sustain her partnership with the African continent to address Africa’s infrastructural and employment deficit by way of increased investment, repositioning of agriculture as a business enterprise, youth and women empowerment, human capital development as well as engaging and interacting with Africa’ s private sector through purposeful trade missions to the continent.
“We believe that addressing the infrastructure gaps, including sustained private investment in infrastructural development will unleash the potentials for future growth of the continent and contribute to the mutual benefits of the TICAD aspirations. It is our hope therefore, that TICAD V would support Africa’s infrastructural needs through the establishment of mega power plants, high speed rail transportation and private sector-led investments in the
agriculture value chains on the basis of public-private partnership,” he added.
Speaking further the Vice President said “Skill acquisition and transfer of technology are essential avenues to create jobs for our teaming population and also fast-track the transition from informal to formal economic activities. We join TICAD V to also consider specific measures to empower women as economic actors.”
Earlier at the opening session chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan H. E Mr Shinzo Abe and Co-chaired by the Ethiopian Prime Minister HaileMariam Desalegn, the Japanese Prime Minister promised that his country will do more than they did during the TICAD IV. He noted the strategic importance of Africa and the need to reposition the continent for rapid socio-economic progress.
At the resumed session chaired by the Mozambique President Armando Guebeza, countries took turns to speak commencing with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda who stressed the need for Africa to encourage private sector participation , followed by the Tunisian Prime Minister in such progression up till the time of Nigeria to speak.
Other speakers at the event included Mr Banki Moon, UN Secretary General, Nkosazara Dlamini Zuma Secretary General of the African Union Commission , UNDP secretary Mrs Shannon Maris, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, they all spoke on the need to support Africa’s steady economic growth.
TICAD launched in 1993 is celebrating twenty years of productive cooperation and partnership with Africa, TICAD V with the theme “Hand in Hand with a More Dynamic Africa” is holding from June 1-3, 2013, at Yokohama, Japan.
TICAD is aimed at promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners, it has provided fundamental and comprehensive policy and guideline on African development. One of the central feature of TICAD is the cooperation between Asia and Africa.