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TICAD Ministerial Meeting: Japan a strategic investor for SA

TICAD Ministerial Meeting: Japan a strategic investor for SA
Photo credit: DIRCO

08 Oct 2018

Japan remains a strategic and important long-term investor in different sectors of the economy both in South Africa and the rest of Africa, says Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Bulelani Magwanishe.

“Japan has over the years invested in the automotive sector, information and communication technology (ICT) and as South Africa, we will continuously cooperate and work with them for future investments.

“With that said, there are still vast opportunities for them to invest and collaborate with us in productive sectors like energy, agro-processing, ICT and skills development,” said Magwanishe on Monday.

The Deputy Minister was speaking during a breakfast engagement with Japanese investors hosted on the sidelines of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Ministerial meeting in Tokyo.

Magwanishe also congratulated Sumitomo rubber industries on the recent launch of their R970 million truck and bus tyre plant in Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal. He also extended a congratulatory word on Tokyo Marine’s acquisition of a 22.2% stake in South Africa’s Hollard Insurance to the tune of R5 billion.

Furthermore, Magwanishe invited potential investors to attend the planned Presidential Investment Conference that will take place later this month.

TICAD

Magwanishe said TICAD remains important for the African Union, as it has the potential to support African countries to industrialise their economies; create sustainable, inclusive growth and with it, sustainable employment opportunities and a better future for their people.

The opening ceremony of TICAD got underway on Saturday. The Meeting focused primarily on the review of progress made by the TICAD process since the conclusion of the 6th TICAD Summit, hosted in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2016, and the TICAD Ministerial Review Meeting, concluded in Maputo, Mozambique in August 2017.

TICAD was launched in 1993 by the Japanese government to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership. 

Last month, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (dti) led a week-long investment mission to the island nation. The mission was part of government’s investment drive to attract $100 billion worth of investments in the next five years.

Magwanishe was accompanied by Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers, on behalf of the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu.


Remarks by H.E. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, at the Closing Session of the TICAD Ministerial Meeting

I would like to express my sincere appreciation for your active contribution over the last two days. We could say that we had very fruitful discussions that have paved the way forward toward TICAD 7.

The gist of the discussions is outlined in the Co-chairs Summary that has just been distributed to you, but let me briefly go through the highlights.

In Plenary 1, we reviewed positive macroeconomic trends and commended recent achievements such as the signing of the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as well as national and regional efforts to improve societal resilience in areas including health, education, and disaster risk reduction. We also saw examples of improved governance such as peaceful power transitions and movements towards peace in some African countries. On the other hand, we recognized that challenges remain in every field, including the issue of debt sustainability. I also reconfirmed the high expectations from Africa for increased private investment to the continent, especially towards Japanese companies. Japan is committed to enhancing public and private partnership with Africa.

In Plenary 2, we reaffirmed that economic diversification and value addition are necessary for sustainable development. As potential drivers of economic and social transformation, we identified areas including: modernization of the agricultural sector; fostering of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs); and promotion of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). We also reiterated the importance of enhancing the blue economy in tandem with promoting maritime security and the rule of law. We also recognized the need to address some bottlenecks urgently, as unsustainable debts and insufficient business environments hinder public-private investment. From this perspective, I was encouraged by the efforts of African counterparts to promote a fair, open and transparent business environment.

In Plenary 3, we identified progress made in the area of human security. We affirmed that the promotion of universal health coverage (UHC) will remain key to enhancing the resilience and productivity of societies. We also emphasized the importance of disaster risk reduction (DRR) as African countries could be the most vulnerable to climate change impacts. Issues of rapid urbanization and demographic change were other important topics as well. Furthermore, we reaffirmed our determination to build a peaceful and stable region, placing importance on good governance, rule of law, and human rights. In these respects, it goes without saying that to find African solutions, African voices should be duly heard and reflected.

In Plenary 4, we took up the issue of “connectivity”. We developed our thoughts on how to enhance connectivity in terms of physical connectivity through quality infrastructure, connectivity through digital infrastructure and institutional harmonization, and people-to-people connectivity through exchange of people including in tourism, culture, sport and academia. We agreed that key infrastructure, including international ports, needs to be operated in a fair, open, and transparent manner.

In conclusion, I am confident that we are fully committed to working together towards the success of TICAD 7 and realization of Agenda 2063 and SDGs through the TICAD process.

Let me thank the co-organizers once again for their hard work and the tremendous amount of time they dedicated to making this meeting a success. I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to every single participant for your great contributions to the meeting. My special gratitude to Rwanda and Egypt, the incumbent and incoming AU chairs.

Our next destination is Yokohama. We will gather again next year at the end of August with increased momentum toward materializing our aspirations for development in Africa.

We look forward to seeing your Heads of States at the Summit next year.

I thank you.


Statement by H.E. Mr. Taro Kono at the Opening Ceremony

Having attended the United Nations General Assembly last month, I renewed my recognition that the world is facing greater uncertainty than ever before. As we believe Africa would be the most vulnerable region to such a climate, we are fully committed to working shoulder to shoulder with Africa.

It is my great pleasure to welcome my African colleagues to this meeting. I visited Maputo to chair the last TICAD Ministerial Meeting. It was one of my first trips as Minister for Foreign Affairs and the warm welcome I received in Maputo made it all the more memorable. Since then, there have been many significant events to enhance ties between Africa and Japan.

Take high-level exchanges to begin with. President Rajaonarimanpianina of Madagascar and President Sall of Senegal made official visits to Japan. Five former presidents, H.E. Mr. Chissano, H.E. Mr. Soglo, H.E. Mr. Mkapa, H.E. Chief Obasanjo and H.E. Mr. Mbeki, the ‘Founding fathers’ of Africa, also came to Tokyo in August to discuss how to realize peace and stability in Africa. And from Japan, Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi, Minister for Economic Revitalization, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry, and myself visited Africa.

We have also been greatly encouraged by a number of touching messages from African friends in relation to the disasters caused by rains, typhoons and earthquakes that hit Japan over the past years. I would like to once again express my gratitude for those messages of solidarity. Thank you so much.

Our policies towards Africa have been shaped by our own experiences, which can be expressed in our belief that “the strength of a country lies in its people.”

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration of 1868, which was a turning point for Japan. In the years that followed, Japan established the basis of its democracy and realized significant development, while emphasizing education, human resource development, socio-economic reforms, and the rule of law.

We also made a miraculous revival after the World War II, thanks to generous international assistance and with self-help efforts based on the resilience we had built since the Meiji era.

Based on this success, as an emerging donor, Japan later applied its unique experience to Asia, which proved to be effective. I would like to reemphasize our firm resolve to further support Africa’s efforts, while respecting Africa’s ownership and focusing on empowerment of its people.

From this perspective, I would like to reiterate that Japan supports democracy in Africa, but at the same time, we highly value Africa’s own efforts to find “African solutions to African problems” in promoting peace and security. Japan appreciates the positive trend in eastern Africa, and stresses the importance of institution building as the foundation for peace and stability.

Japan is promoting proactively to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific, to connect Africa all the way to the coast of North and South America through Indian Ocean and-Pacific Ocean. We must maintain a free and open maritime order and freedom of navigation based on the rule of law. Any maritime disputes should be resolved in a fair and peaceful manner based on international law, but never by force. It is our wish to share such a world with Africa.

On the economic front, we have been promoting African economic transformation with an emphasis on human resource development and technology transfer, in close partnership with our private sector. Reflecting our belief in empowering people, Japanese companies investing in Africa such as TOYOTA and Chiyoda Corporation are training local people in the same manner as they have done in Japan.

Looking at some positive developments, Japan’s foreign direct investment in Africa has increased by more than five times since 2000 and Japanese companies have established more than 800 offices in Africa now. The first Japan-Africa Public-Private Economic Forum was also held in May in Johannesburg and a Public and Private Sector Joint Mission was sent to Rwanda and Zambia in July.

It is also encouraging to see the various business side events held yesterday afternoon and this morning, which some of you may have attended. Especially Keidanren, this morning the largest business federation and major Japanese corporations willing to further invest in Africa held a side event. I hope you have attended in the event and talked with Mr. Sakakibara, President of Keidanren about the more investment in your country.

On a related point, I would like to reiterate the importance of sound debt management in order to enable sustainable development for Africa with African ownership. International assistance should be provided in accordance with international standards such as transparency, openness, and economic efficiency, in view of life-cycle costs as well as debt sustainability of recipient countries. These principles are crucial components of Japan’s “Quality Infrastructure” initiative, based on which Japan is supporting enhanced connectivity throughout the entire African continent and beyond. In keeping with these ideas, Japan encourages African efforts toward economic transformation, as provided for in “Agenda 2063”.

To realize Africa’s economic transformation, I would like to refer to the importance of free trade. There is increasing uncertainty surrounding the current international world order and widespread use of unilateral actions is eroding multilateralism. Japan, however, remains determined to maintain and develop free and fair multilateral and plurilateral trading systems.

Now, let us remind ourselves that our TICAD process is created by all stakeholders, including co-organizers, participating countries, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector. Transparency and consistency are both key to this process. I would like to underline Japan’s determination to maintain and further develop this unique, transparent, and inclusive TICAD framework in close collaboration with the participating parties.

Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to you all for your cooperation on certain global issues to which Japan also attaches great importance, such as UN Security Council reform and a comprehensive resolution of outstanding issues of concern regarding North Korea, including the abductions, nuclear and missile development. We hope to work continuously with Africa on these challenges to realize a better future for all.

Before concluding my speech, I would like to announce that even if a group, which claims itself as a “State”, which Japan does not recognize, was sitting in this room, this fact does not mean that Japan in any way implicitly or explicitly recognizes it as state. And I would like to make clear that it is not allowed to put any name plate other than African Union, co-host organization and Japan. It is also not allowed to put any flag other than of African Union, co-host organization and Japan in the Plenary room including on the desk. Anybody who disrupts order may be asked to leave the Plenary room.

Thank you.