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UNDP reaffirms its support for African development as international conference begins in Japan

UNDP reaffirms its support for African development as international conference begins in Japan

Organizers hope for sustainable development breakthrough on the continent

31 May 2013, Tokyo – More than 40,000 people will gather in Yokohama, Japan, over the next three days for a landmark conference focused on strengthening partnerships to accelerate the momentum on human development in Africa.

With the theme ‘Hand in Hand with a more Dynamic Africa’, the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) will produce a declaration and plan of action to promote peace and stability, robust and sustainable growth, and inclusive and resilient societies across the African continent.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a co-organizer of TICAD V along with the Government of Japan, the World Bank, the African Union (AU) and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (OSAA).

In Japan today, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said that UNDP and its TICAD co-organizers recognize the progress made by Africa.

For instance, the continent’s economy is projected to grow by 4.8 per cent in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3 per cent in 2014, according to the latest African Economic Outlook which will be presented on the margins of the summit.

“One challenge is to ensure that growth translates into equal opportunity for all, including in access to jobs, education, and social protection, and through political participation,” Helen Clark said. “Sustainable development pathways are needed to eradicate extreme poverty and reduce social and economic inequality and exclusion.”

Taking place from 1-3 June in Yokohama City, the TICAD V agenda will cover a number of key issues, including ensuring stability and long-term development in the Sahel region, bolstering climate mitigation and adaptation and identifying priority actions for closing gender equality gaps in Africa.

Helen Clark will deliver a keynote address at the opening session tomorrow to help mark the 20th anniversary of TICAD and the 50th Anniversary of the Organization of African Unity, now called the African Union (AU), and pay tribute to the main drivers of the TICAD partnership.

“Japan’s support to Africa is as important as ever and Japanese stakeholders are in a strong position to support African development through their networks of knowledge, development experience and innovation,” Helen Clark said.

In the past decade, Japan doubled its Overseas Development Assistance to Africa from an average of US$0.9 billion per year in 2003-2007 to US$ 1.8 billion per year in 2008-2012. In 2010, the country’s foreign direct investment in Africa reached US$6 billion.

Since TICAD was founded, the partnership has played a critical role in raising global awareness of African development issues and providing strategic leadership on development assistance to Africa.

To respond to Africa’s needs more effectively, TICAD has evolved from a forum for dialogue into a platform for action, launching a wide spectrum of programmes – implemented by UNDP and the World Bank, amongst other partners – to accelerate economic growth, human security and progress towards the Millennium Development Goals across Africa.

Examples of TICAD projects include support for peace-building in the post-conflict areas of Uganda and assisting in the organization of presidential elections in Sierra Leone.

In West Africa, Japan’s private sector and civil society are working with local businesses and in collaboration with UNDP’s African Facility for Inclusive Markets to develop value chains benefiting the poor, with a focus on sustainable agricultural development.

In the area of climate change, the Japan-financed Africa Adaptation Programme, a continent-wide, US$92 million scheme implemented by UNDP, has helped countries to integrate climate adaptation into their national development efforts. Lessons from that programme will be presented at a TICAD V side event on 1 June.

TICAD has been held every five years since 1993.

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