TICAD stands for “Tokyo International Conference on African Development”. It was launched in 1993 to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners. TICAD has since evolved into a major global framework to facilitate the implementation of initiatives for promoting African development under the dual principle of African “ownership” and international “partnership”. A central feature of this framework is the cooperation between Asia and Africa.
TICAD enjoys the joint support of co-organizers, namely the Government of Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSAA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank. Its stakeholders include all African countries and development partners including Asian countries, donor nations, international agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector and parliaments.
TICAD’s Main Objectives
The objectives of TICAD are two-fold: 1) to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their partners; and 2) to mobilize support for African-owned development initiatives. These objectives are embodied in the concept of “ownership” and “partnership”.
The TICAD Process
The first conference (TICAD I) took place in 1993. During the event the co-organizers vowed to reverse the decline in development assistance for Africa which had followed the end of the Cold War. Participants adopted the Tokyo Declaration on African Development, committing to the pursuit of political and economic reforms in Africa, increased private sector development, regional cooperation and integration, and the harnessing of Asian experience of the benefit of African development.
Held in 1998, the second conference (TICAD II) renewed the commitment to Africa’s development challenges with poverty reduction and integration of Africa into the global economy as a primary theme, culminating in the adoption of the Tokyo Agenda for Action (TAA). The TAA outlined a framework of cooperation in the TICAD process identifying shared goals, objectives and guidelines for actions to be taken by Africa and its partners.
In 2003, the third conference (TICAD III) made an explicit commitment for the TICAD Initiative to support the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), a blueprint for Africa’s peace and socio-economic growth and development. TICAD III was held in Tokyo with high-level participation of African leaders, including 23 heads of State, and 10 heads of international organizations. It was heralded as one of the largest international conferences on African development. A political statement TICAD 10th Anniversary Declaration that renewed the commitment of leaders for African development was adopted at the conference.
Under the overall objective to foster a vibrant Africa, TICAD IV, held in Yokohama, Japan, from 28 through 30 May 2008, addressed the following three priority areas:
1) Boosting economic growth;
2) Ensuring “human security”, including the achievment of
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and
the consolidation of peace and democratization; and
3) Addressing environmental issues and climate change.
Results from TICAD IV were fed into the G-8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit held from 7 to 9 July, 2008.
The TICAD UNDP/Africa Bureau continues to promote its agenda in
collaboration with the African Union (AU) and NEPAD.
Japan’s commitment to Africa
Japan is determined to contribute to the development of Africa. Although there are few historical ties with the continent (indeed Tokyo did not open full-fledged relations with African countries until they had declared their independence from colonial rule after the Second World War), Japan does hold a strong belief that there will be no stability or prosperity in the world unless the problems of Africa are resolved.
Japan’s commitment was demonstrated in launching the TICAD process and shifting the international community’s attention back to Africa in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War appeared to focus global interest elsewhere.
Through TICAD Japan has promoted the principles of both global partnership and African ownership. As stated in the Tokyo Agenda for Action adopted at TICAD II in 1998, Japan and its African partners believe that priorities for economic and social development should be determined by African countries themselves, and development should be pursued under a common framework for cooperation among all development actors. Japan’s work through TICAD complements the substantial overseas development aid which it has directed towards African countries.
It is from this standpoint that Japan firmly welcomed the launch of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in 2001, when Africa’s leaders proclaimed the principle of ownership in development. They stated: “we will determine our own destiny and call on the world to complement our efforts.” They also stressed their determination to meet pre-requisites for development such as peace, security, democracy, good governance, and sound economic management. With such principles, it is clear that NEPAD is building upon key elements that are also embraced by Japan’s overall purpose in initiating TICAD.