The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) held by Kenya over the weekend wrapped up the high-profile gathering of 54 African countries on Sunday with a bold declaration proclaiming that Africa’s socio-economic transformation is central to global stability and prosperity.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government successfully hosted the first ever TICAD VI conference to be held in Africa. It was attended by representatives from 54 African countries, 52 partner countries and 74 international and regional organisations, and representatives of the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) from both Africa and Japan.
TICAD VI delegates closed the conference with the Nairobi Declaration that noted Africa is a dynamic continent that hosts most of the fastest growing economies in the world, and that this has led to an increase in the number of African countries progressing from low-income to middle-income status.
Delegates who included Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Prime Minister of Namibia Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and her team noted Africa is bestowed with rich natural resources and has a fast growing population expected to reach two billion by 2050.
“We especially acknowledge the growing middle-class, which makes Africa a significant player in the global economy. We affirm that TICAD is a unique process that has contributed remarkably to Africa’s development and regional integration agenda. It is a forum that promotes synergy with a candid and heart-to-heart communication among Africa, Japan and the international community, and values the sense of equality and mutual benefit,” declared TICAD VI in the Nairobi Declaration.
It was highlighted that TICAD is an open and inclusive forum that is premised on inclusiveness and openness, and that it is built on the twin principles of African ownership and international partnership that continued to be strengthened by gatherings such as the one in Nairobi.
They noted the TICAD concept mobilises global support for Africa’s development by promoting continuous dialogue, collaboration and voluntary initiatives among a wide range of actors.
TICAD, it was stated, also promotes south-south and triangular cooperation within the framework of national and regional development programmes.
Alignment with Africa’s development agenda
Delegates stated TICAD that was started in 1993 “is anchored on the conviction that Africa’s socio-economic transformation is central to global stability and prosperity as it prioritises the continent’s agenda, and uses a pragmatic development paradigm and modalities to bring concrete results aimed at supporting Africa’s development agenda”.
“TICAD also recognises that enhancing the capacity of each person and community is the key to sustainable development. This human security approach is aligned to Africa’s own aspirations for people-centred development. TICAD continues to play a unique role in the development dialogues on Africa through its innovative, open, multi-stakeholder approach, which provides ample potential for its further evolution and transformation,” stated the Nairobi Declaration on Sunday.
TICAD noted that despite the socio- and economic progress made, the continent is also faced with several challenges, one of which is the decline in global primary commodity prices that have exacerbated fiscal pressure and debt sustainability of many African countries. It urged African countries to diversify their economies and reduce dependence on the primary commodity sector.
“We acknowledge the need for value addition and beneficiation. In this context we recognise that promoting structural economic transformation through diversification, including development of the blue/ocean economy, promotion of the green economy, expansion of agriculture and industrialisation are essential to creating resilient economies, stimulating decent employment opportunities especially for youth and women, minimising income and wealth disparities.”