Africa: Japan Conference Statement,Sun, 8 Nov 1998

Africa: Japan Conference Statement,Sun, 8 Nov 1998

Africa: Japan Conference Statement Date distributed (ymd): 981108 Document reposted by APIC

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Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+ Summary Contents: This posting contains the final statement by non-governmental representatives attending the second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), as well as the outline and brief excerpts from the official conference statement. Additional information on the TICAD process and preparatory NGO meetings, in English, French and Japanese, can be found at the Africa-Japan Forum web site ( The Africa-Japan Forum can be contacted at Maruko building, 3rd floor, 1-20-6 Higashi-ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0015 JAPAN; phone: 81-3-3834-6902; fax: 81-3-3834-6903; e-mail:

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Civil Action for TICAD II (ACT) October 20, 1998


(Tokyo, 19 to 21 October 1998) We the Citizens and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) coming from Africa, Canada and Japan and working for African development, welcome the opportunity to participate in TICAD II. In this respect we recognize the important role that Japanese NGOs have played in facilitating our participation in order to evolve the views and recommendations that follow. We also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Japan and the co-organizers of TICAD II for providing the resources that have made our participation possible.

We have met on several occasions as civil society organizations and communicated with one another since the beginning of the preparation for TICAD II. Our final deliberations were held in Osaka at the International NGO Symposium entitled, "NGOs' Visions and Proposals for African Development" on 16 October 1998 which was organized by Japanese NGOs and the private sector.

This final declaration contains the views and comments that evolved from our several deliberations. In the preparation of this document we have had the opportunity to review the draft of the Agenda for Action prepared by the Preparatory Committee of TICAD II. We are encouraged by the convergence of views in our document and in the draft of the Agenda for Action. While taking note of this convergence, we emphasize the following:

* We believe the key to Africa's recovery and development lies with its people. However, we observe that the vast energies and expertise of African people, particularly women, have not been fully tapped. Whereas African governments and the international community have, in numerous meeting and documents, recognized the importance of supporting and strengthening African civil society, this acknowledgment has however not yet been fully implemented.

* We consider poverty to be the primary challenge facing African people. Consequently, poverty eradication in Africa must be our primary goal.

* While poverty affects both rural and urban populations, we recognize that rural dwellers who constitute the majority of the population in African countries are the most affected. However, while African countries have posted marginal economic growth in recent years, the development of rural people is still neglected. Consequently, poverty eradication in rural areas remains a critical priority.

It is our view that there are enough resources both within and outside Africa to eradicate poverty. In this context we suggest the following measures:

1. There has to be an immediate solution to the debt problem facing African nations.

2. Immediate measures have to be taken to improve the management of national resources.

3. Immediate measures have to be initiated by African governments to create and maximize the opportunities, and to minimize the disadvantages and constraints of globalization in order to eradicate poverty.

4. Food self-sufficiency and security, personal security, education and health care delivery have to be improved.

5. African people have to be empowered to become effective partners with their governments in the governance of their affairs as stated in the "African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation, Arusha 1990."

[APIC note: for the text of the Charter see]

We view the following factors as obstacles to achieving the above:

1. The problem of debt is exacerbated by the unfair terms of trade, the present Structural Adjustment Programs, the reductions in ODA to Africa and a lack of political will on the part of the creditors to solve the debt problem.

2. The proper management and equitable distribution of national resources are hampered by the poor management of these resources and the corruption of many African governments. In some cases these practices are encouraged directly and indirectly by certain international actors.

3. Undemocratic practices of governments coupled with a lack of capacity within civil society are a serious obstacle to popular participation.

4. The slow pace of regional economic integration in Africa coupled with the unfavourable international trade system.

5. Existing and recurring civil wars exacerbated by continuous military expenditures and the flow of arms coupled with the poor management of conflicts, threaten food security, personal security and diverts valuable resources from social spending hindering all aspects of development.

In this context we recommend the following:

1. Review of the debt problem between creditors and debtors with the full participation of civil society organizations. This includes debt research to establish shared loan responsibility, debt cancellation, debt swaps, management and monitoring of loan resources and delinking of HIPC from SAP.

2. African countries must establish appropriate and adequate governance institutions as well as pluralistic and inclusive democratic elections (i.e. the right of independent candidates to contest each election).

3. African Governments must create mechanisms to establish and improve regular consultations with authentic civil society organizations throughout the process of governance and to practice open, transparent and accountable government.

4. For Africa to reap the full benefits of integration into the global economy, African governments must demonstrate political will in accelerating the process of regional economic integration by the speedy implementation of the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community. Africa's development partners should take note that the integration of Africa's economies will be for the mutual benefit of Africa and its development partners and they should therefore, support these efforts.

5. Governments must respect and strengthen existing mechanisms for preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in Africa, and review and reduce their current military expenditures. Resources that are saved from reduction in military expenditures and through the improved management of conflicts, should be re-directed towards meeting other social needs especially food self-sufficiency, education and health care.

6. TICAD II should establish a mechanism for follow up in order to: i. Organize five sub-regional meetings of African governments, civil society organizations and their international counterparts to review implementation of the African Charter for Popular Participation, towards strengthening dialogue among the development partners. ii. Clearly identify, launch and implement projects based on the TICAD II principles of ownership and global partnership. iii. Disseminate information with regard to the implementation of the Agenda for Action and review after 3 years. iv. Support African NGOs' development initiatives.

7. The cooperation between African and Asian NGOs must be strengthened.

Our views and recommendations stated here are further amplified in the attached supplementary (available on

Finally, we reiterate our thanks to the co-organizers of TICAD II, in particular the Government Japan, for this initiative. We urge the Government of Japan, in collaboration with Japanese NGOs and the private sector, to continue to play the leading role in the implementation phase of TICAD II.

Contact: Civil Action for TICAD II (ACT), c/o The Africa Society of Japan (ASJ), 1-11-2 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001 JAPAN; Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1878; Fax: +81-(0)3-3501-1879; E-mail:



The following is the outline, including a few excerpted paragraphs from the Action Plan. The full document is available on-line at the Japanese Foreign Ministry web site (



(1.) Primary Theme: Poverty Reduction and Integration into the Global Economy

(2.) Underlying Principles


(1.) Approaches

(i) Strengthening coordination (ii) Regional cooperation and integration (iii) South-South cooperation

(2.) Cross-cutting Themes

(i) Capacity building (ii) Gender mainstreaming (iii) Environmental management


(1.) Social Development and Poverty Reduction: Promoting Human Development

17. Sustainable human development is the ultimate objective of development. Social development, in turn, helps enhance the capacity of the poor to participate productively in economic and social activities and improve income distribution. Poverty is widespread in Africa, with the majority of the poor living in rural areas. It is estimated that women account for about two-thirds of the African poor, and the feminization of poverty is an issue that requires special attention. The experience of poverty reduction in East Asia demonstrates that rapid economic growth with equitable income distribution over a sustained period of time can help lift the poor above the poverty line. With regard to social development, sub-sector targets should be set and resources allocated for the priority areas of education, health and population, and special measures for the poor.

(1.1) Education (1.2) Health and Population (1.3) Other Measures to Assist the Poor

(2.) Economic Development: Promoting the Private Sector

23. A major challenge for African countries is to raise and sustain growth rates at much higher levels and to create employment and increased income for effective poverty reduction. At the same time, globalization presents additional challenges and new opportunities for African countries. Consequently, they have to devise national development strategies aimed at enhancing their international competitiveness in tradeable goods and services through the expanded application of appropriate technologies, including labor-intensive technology, to improve skills and productivity and provide essential services more efficiently. Development partners are encouraged to assist African countries in this endeavor.

(2.1) Private Sector Development

24. African countries intend to support private enterprise, which covers a wide range of activities from the micro enterprises of the informal sector to the small and medium enterprises of the manufacturing sector, as a key stakeholder in economic and social development, as well as the principal engine of growth and generator of wealth and employment. The public sector should concentrate on those activities for which it is best suited, especially the efficient delivery of core public services, and should disengage from those activities which the private sector is better able to perform. For the private sector to realize its full potential to stimulate growth, the government should remove actual and perceived constraints to business activity, so as to encourage the creative talents of African entrepreneurs. At the same time, the capacity of public institutions that are critical to the functioning of a modern market economy needs to be strengthened. Support for the modernization of the informal sector, where the majority of the growing urban poor is employed, is an essential component for poverty reduction.

(2.2) Industrial Development

25. Industrial development is central to the structural transformation necessary for African economies to increase incomes and employment and diversify exports. In Africa, there is a growing consensus that accelerated economic transformation will depend on the synergies between industrial and agricultural development, as reflected in the programme of the Alliance for Africa's Industrialization (AAI).

(2.3) Agricultural Development

26. Africa's economic performance and poverty reduction are strongly linked to agricultural development, including fisheries, livestock, and forestry development. The agriculture sector accounts for some 35 per cent of the continent's GDP, 40 per cent of exports, and 70 per cent of employment. In the short- and medium-run, Africa's ability to achieve sustainable broad-based growth and development requires a revitalization of the rural economy. To this end, increased attention should be given to the smallholder sector and the role of women farmers. Strengthening the linkage between rural producers and urban markets also constitutes an important part of the strategy.

(2.4) External debt

28. The international community has implemented a series of measures to address the external debt burden of low-income countries, including concessional financial assistance from multilateral institutions, concessional rescheduling, debt forgiveness, and concessional new finance from bilateral creditors. Furthermore, the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, developed by the IMF and the World Bank, was adopted in September 1996. The HIPC Initiative aims at reducing to sustainable levels the debt burden of HIPCs that are pursuing strong programmes of adjustment and reform. The African Development Bank approved its contribution to the Initiative in 1997. Nine countries, including seven African countries, have reached the decision points and seven (of which five African) have been found eligible for HIPC assistance. Several additional African countries are expected to reach decision points soon. In their recent review of the Initiative, IMF and the World Bank agreed to extend until end-2000 the original deadline for countries to enter the HIPC Initiative through adopting adjustment programmes supported by the two institutions. This extends the opportunity for a group of African countries - many just emerging from conflicts - to begin building a track record of good policy performance required under the HIPC Initiative. Furthermore, the IMF and the World Bank have agreed that programmes supported by IMF post-conflict emergency assistance could count - on a case by case basis - toward the HIPC track record, thus potentially bringing forward the delivery of assistance for some African countries.

(3) Basic Foundations for Development

(3.1) Good Governance

30. In recent years, many African countries have made significant progress in democratization. To consolidate this positive trend and achieve further progress in social and economic development on a sustained basis, African countries need to intensify their efforts to further strengthen good governance, taking into account their respective cultural and political circumstances.

(3.2) Conflict Prevention and Post-conflict Development

31. Over the years, a number of wars have been fought in Africa, undermining Africa's efforts to pursue stability and sustainable development. In recent years, Africa has made progress in conflict prevention, management and resolution. In this respect, the establishment of the OAU mechanism is a significant step. Efforts by the OAU and sub-regional organizations need to be supported and consolidated to prevent a recurrence of conflicts and to initiate and strengthen post-conflict rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affected countries. The Secretary-General of the United Nations has issued a report on The Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa (S/1998/318), which specifies actions to mitigate the potential for conflict.


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