African leaders and Japan, at the just-ended Sixth Tokyo International Conference for African Development (Ticad VI) in Nairobi, Kenya, have committed to improving the ease of doing business and tame rising incidents of extremism.
In the Nairobi Declaration issued at the end of the two-day conference on Sunday—the first on the African soil—the 22 heads of States and representatives from the 54 countries also made the commitment to avail opportunities to the youth and women and a bigger role for the private sector to boost economies.
Reads the declaration: “We resolve to promote social stability by responding comprehensively to security concerns. In this regard, we emphasise that protecting and empowering individuals, especially youth and women, families and their communities by improving access to education, technical and vocational training, job creation and opportunity, and promoting socialcohesion, are fundamental.”
At the conference, the African leaders agreed that the private sector should be given space to do business.
Twenty-two Japanese firms signed 73 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with development agencies and companies from 26 African countries and international organisations.
At the conference, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $10 billion for infrastructure development, saying that the deficit would be filled by the private sector investments, which will push the amount to $30 billion in the next three years to 2018.
Analysts say Japan’s shift to Africa is largely triggered by the stiff geopolitical and economic competition from China, which is investing billions of dollars on the continent.
China’s presence is being felt through infrastructural developments in countries such as Malawi, Ethiopia and Mozambique, among others.
“Our hunch is that time has come to make the best of Japan’s capabilities for the advancement of Africa where you seek nothing but quality in our socio-economic development.
“I declare to you that we will launch the Japan- Africa Public Private Economic Forum as a permanent forum,” said Abe.
Japan has been leveraging on quality projects and transfer of knowledge to Africa.
Malawi was represented at the conference by Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Joseph Mwanamvekha and his Finance, Economic Planning and Development counterpart Goodall Gondwe. n