Notes following briefing to media by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Union Buildings, Pretoria
25 March 2008
I've been asked to brief you on three issues: the first is on the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Japan-Africa Forum and then I will deal with the India-Africa Forum, and then I will give you an update on the upcoming India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) meeting.
Let me start with the TICAD process. As you are aware that for the last 15 years, since 1993, Japan and Africa have been engaged on this process of co-operation around the issue of TICAD, that is the Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
We've had three TICAD summits before. We've just returned from Libreville in Gabon where we were in preparations for the fourth TICAD Summit to take place in Yokohama, Japan on 28 to 30 May. It is a very important and significant development in the sense that both Africa and Japan want to make the next summit and its outcomes very different from the previous three TICAD Summits.
We were concentrating in Gabon on three major issues we think should define the next TICAD Summit. The first issue that we spent time discussing was this theme of the forthcoming Summit: "Towards a vibrant Africa." We were discussing what is this vibrancy about Africa? What would characterise this vibrant Africa? And then to that extent we then zeroed in on three issues:
* On economic development towards poverty eradication. We thought this is an area where we can make a difference from the previous TICAD on issues of economic development, which among other things would include issues of how Japan will assist products from Africa to gain market access of Japan. We all know the strict requirements of Japan consumers in terms of products. So we thought that Japan will make a commitment to enable our products to enter the Japanese market.
* Then there was the issue of foreign direct investments (FDI) where we believe that the Japanese government can leverage their overseas development aid (ODA) with the private sector investments, where the Japanese would use the ODA to create conditions and invite the private sector to invest in Africa. Because we believe once you that then we can do things differently and make a dent in terms of poverty alleviation.
* The third area was on infrastructure development. We have in New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) a programme of corridor development and linkages, sub-regional linkages between Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Central Africa between our countries. In this meeting in Libreville we were saying we need to begin to deal with this backlog infrastructure and therefore the Japanese will have to assist us and anchor this into sub-regions, like ours in SADC have programmes and projects.
So we foresee a situation where the Japanese with their expertise and technology helping us now to design anchorable programmes and projects and assist us to go to their partners in institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and others, to mobilise in order to deal with these issues.
Then there was the other topic we were dealing with in terms of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) towards a prosperous Africa. So we are taking a programme with Japan where we have to look into the issue of malaria, HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis. I think you are aware that the Japanese are among the major contributors to the global fund dealing with these pandemics. And we saw from the Japanese government a sort of forward looking in terms of dealing with these MDGs.
And then we discussed with the Japanese government the question of climate change. You are aware that even in our own South Africa you begin to see the impact of global change. It is a very important thing, the climate change issue. If you have to plan for the next 20 to 30 years, you have to understand this pattern and begin to deal with the impact of global change.
So these are the three thematic, anchoring issues that we are going to discuss at the Summit in Yokohama. Of course, part of the other issues is the question of human resource development, the creation of skills in the continent in various fields; the question of information and communications technology (ICT), tapping on Japanese expertise.
And the parallel process we had was what we can learn from Asia, Asian countries. As you recall after the Second World War Japan helped a number of Asian countries. You call them tigers now, developed countries in that region. So in this TICAD process we do interact with Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea. We learn from them because as most of you would recall that in the 1960s.
A number of African countries were far developed than some of these Asian countries, Ghana, South Korea and others. But when you look into developments now, they've galloped away from Africa. So we are learning from these countries who have less natural resources than we have, to say what is the lessons we can draw in your development models. What have you done that we can learn from? So the TICAD process therefore gives us a chance to learn from our Asian brothers.
And as part of this we are beginning now to create triangular or trilateral co-operation. Where we look into an experience, for instance in South Korea and say how can you explain and apply it here. Take South Korea, they've managed to indigenise Japanese technology either in motor car industry, in consumerables like televisions and everything. So can we do something like that in South Africa? Can we indigenise that technology in South Africa? So there is room for us to learn from the Asian experience.
We are also trying to learn the Japanese concept of "one village, one product". If we have to look into rural development and see how we can impact on rural development, we may come to a conclusion that perhaps there is something we can learn from this "one village one product". Malawi is doing well in this area of one village one product, where you scan the country and identify the competitive areas of our economy as part of our rural development. So these are some of the issues we are discussing.
Now to this extent we said we need to develop a robust plan of action. A Plan of Action that will, as I say, make us do things differently between us and Japan than we did the previous times. And then we also agreed that we need to create a follow up mechanism, a joint follow-up mechanism. So that in the next five years from 2008 to 2013 we can then be able to at a difference period of this time to monitor implementation of agreements that are coming in. Because you'll recall that at 2013 it will be 20 years of TICAD. So we have to reflect back on what we have achieved in the 20 years of TICAD. President Mbeki is going to attend this Summit in Yokohama. That is all about the Japan-Africa programme.
On the India–Africa Summit which is coming from 4 to 8 April, from next week I think most of us are trekking to India. Of course, this time around it is not going to be like in China where all African countries were invited. India has invited Algeria, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. So, around 15 countries have been invited to this summit.
The criteria used, I think is that some of them are heads of regional organisations like Zambia is the head of SADC. Some of them like Ghana was the previous chair of the African Union (AU) and now Tanzania is the Chair. South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria are the founding members of Nepad, that's why we are invited. So there were specific criteria used to invite these countries. Once more President Mbeki will be leading the South African delegation to this summit between India and Africa.
So that is a very interesting development. All of us are looking at the growth of India and are saying by 2040, 2050 India will be the third or fourth largest economy in the world. It is a growing giant and therefore there is a reason for us to begin to interact with these giants.
With India, we began to look into areas that we think can make a difference on the African economy. Agriculture, most of us recall that in the 1980s India was a net food importer. Now India is a food exporter. India's population is almost one-point-three times the African population but can feed itself and export food. So we thought that with India let's focus on agriculture. More the economic developments are almost the same, same population distribution. The majority of people are in rural areas of India, like us in Africa. So there are a lot of things we think we can learn like agriculture and see how they mastered actual technology to feed themselves. Including drought-resistant technologies like the deserts. How can you grow rice in the desert? We are looking into those sort of areas.
The area of ICT, information technology and how India has managed in 20 to 25 years to develop such skills in the technology and software. And we believe that it's partly part of the reason of this economic development in India which we believe that Africa can also use in its own strategy. So I do think that in the area of trade India is becoming a global trading country. You can just look in our country and see how many brands you'd see: Sahara, TATA and Mahindra. You see them from pharmaceutical to motor car industry and begin to see this growing giant.
How did they master a market like ours with so much competition from Toyotas, from Mercedes? How is it possible to enter this market? So we thought that there is much that we can learn from India. But of particular interest for us is the role of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in the economy. Over four million small-scale industries in India and they have impacted to a great extent on the Indian economy not only in job creation but also in exports. I think 30% of Indian exports are coming from small-scale industries. So we have a particular interest as a continent on this, bearing in mind that we don't have huge companies in the continent. We by and large operate as small-medium size economies so that one area that we think we could look at more and more with India and the question of investments.
How does India manage to master investments because apart from getting huge investments from the Indians in the diaspora, they have managed to create the possibility of attracting investments from across the world. So these will be some of the issues. Of course, there will be political issues between us and India. We'll be trading ideas on global trends and how we influence one another. I think it is going to be very significant. It is going to be the first ever summit between us and India and I'm sure it is going to be going on for years to come. I hope you won't compare this to the China one. I think we'll treat India as India. And treat China as China and Japan as Japan.
We are going towards the second half of the year to Turkey, again Africa and Turkey relations. So you can see there is a growing trend to deal with Africa. You know we emerged last month from the EU–Africa Summit. So there is a growing trend simply because Africa has a programme called Nepad. And we have the AU so it is easy for all these players to be dealing with Africa. I'm sure the change in South Africa has contributed largely to this attentiveness when dealing with the continent.
The last brief I was asked to give you is on the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) process. This dynamic and unique initiative is forever gaining momentum. We will be hosting in South Africa around the 5th to the 11th of May the Ministerial Meeting in Cape Town of IBSA.
This meeting will coincide with the naval manoeuvres. The India and Brazilian navies will be joining our navy around the Cape Coast. We think this is another significant demonstration of the growing closeness of our countries. And of course, this Ministerial Meeting in Somerset West will be used to prepare for the third IBSA Summit in India in October. President Mbeki will be going back to India in October for the IBSA Summit which I believe will concentrate to a great extent on the economic, trade and maritime connection. These will be the issues that will be discussed.
So of course at the heart of these three initiatives is how do we use them to (a) attract more investments into the continent and South Africa; (b) to open up markets for our products and services; (c) to infuse relevant technologies in South African manufacturing or African continental manufacturing, and (d) how do we deal with poverty underdevelopment, and lastly how do you deal with peace and security questions in the continent. And above all attention on HIV and AIDS in the three initiatives and malaria and tuberculosis.
So we believe that as we get more and more partners with Africa, we should begin to streamline the kinds of themes, the kind of programmes that we have to address. So we can see that there is a closer co-ordination, either it is Africa-China forum, either it is the Africa-India forum, either it is Japan-Africa forum. We are beginning to synchronise these themes and make sure that we have maximum benefits for the continent of course at the same time maintaining friendship with these countries.
So this is the short brief that I want to give you. Thanks.
Questions and answers
Question: I just wanted to find out, which month is this TICAD.
Answer: Now TICAD is in May, 28 to 30. Now significant about the outcome of this Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) is that the forthcoming outcomes will be taken to the G8 meeting in Japan.
This is most significant about this. Because what is going to happen is that our Heads of State from Africa will meet the Japanese leaders, and then at the end of the Summit on 30 May the conclusions, Japan will be chairing the G8 from 7 to 10 July. Again our President has been invited to attend the G8 meeting.
So what we are doing, that is why I was saying this is going to be very interesting the arrangements because we want to make sure that the outcomes of TICAD are taken to the G8. Now Japan has arranged such that on 7 July it is going to be G8 and Africa. And on the 8th it is the G8 Summit. On 9 July it is G8 plus G5, South Africa, India, Brazil, China and Mexico. This time around they will be joined by G3: Australia, South Korea and Indonesia.
But the sequencing of this meeting is very good for us because on 7 July the G8 will be dealing with African issues. Very significant development indeed and President Mbeki is a participant in those African issues. He'll be among the few African Heads of State invited on 7 July. And then he may also attend on the 9th of July if he's still around Japan. President Mbeki is going to stay around to participate on 7 July in the G8-Africa and then take part, if it is possible, take part on the G8 plus G5 plus G3.
So that is why we are paying particular attention on the processes and the substantial outcomes of the TICAD IV Summit, because there is that relevance on that. It is also significant to note that it was Japan that introduced the African agenda on the G8. The first time Africa attended the G8 Summit was when Japan hosted it in the south of Japan. So it is very significant that Japan has always made sure that African issues are prominent.
Of course, thereafter in Canada there was an African action plan, in Gleneagles another action plan, in Germany another plan. But Japan was the initiator of the concerted discussion with the continent, especially to popularise NEPAD. So it is very significant what Japan did for the African continent. It is not surprising therefore how they sequence the Summit that the first day of the G8 Summit has to deal with Africa. So that when the G8 retreat on their own, on the 8 July, they can begin to discuss the African issues. And come back to us hopefully with more developments.
Our approach to that is you had the African action plan. You now have Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Africa plan. What have we done? Can we look back as G8 and say we have fulfilled the plans and commitments we took at Canada, we did in Gleneagles, and we did in Germany? So it is going to be a very interesting one for us on this 7 July interaction between the G8 and Africa.
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs
25 March 2008