Interview: TICAD ambassador hopes Egypt’s AU chairmanship advances Japan's contribution to Africa



Tue, 27 Aug 2019 - 03:39 GMT


Tue, 27 Aug 2019 - 03:39 GMT

Ambassador for TICAD Kiya Masahiko - Photo taken by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today

Ambassador for TICAD Kiya Masahiko - Photo taken by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today

TOKYO – 27 August 2019: Before the TICAD7 summit, the largest international business forum in Japan, kick off, Egypt Today spoke with Ambassador for TICAD Kiya Masahiko on Egypt’s co-chairing of the summit, and how it can enhance Japan’s contribution to Africa.

“We have hopes for co-chairmanship of Egypt together with our prime minister Abe, because Egypt is a leading country with a long history, and has a deep understanding on the need for innovation,” Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister Masahiko.

He went on speaking about the deep relations between Japan and Egypt, especially in science and technology; “we are hoping that based on such collaboration, and such mutual trust and achievement could be expanded to the rest of the continent of Africa.”

Masahiko added “we are hoping that under Egypt’s chairmanship of the African Union, we could make further advancement of the Japan’s contribution to Africa.”

Ambassador for TICAD Kiya Masahiko - Photo taken by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today

Asking Masahiko about the summit’s mechanism to follow-up with donor and partner countries that expressed interest in investing in Africa, he explained that the current situation is much easy and smooth in terms of connecting Africa to partner countries.

“We are very lucky that Africa tis getting more institutionalized, there are five regions, and now under the AU reform process NEPAD is being transformed into an AU developing agency.” He further added that along with the African ownership, Japan has ties with many partner countries US, UK, France, also India and China, so Japan is one of the major G7 countries and G20 countries, and Japan seeks to really facilitate communication.”

Masahiko also explained that this TICAD is “a TICAD of business and innovation,” and that it addresses three main challenges facing Africa development, which are: economy, society and sustainability.

Japan has set a principle to TICAD summits to maintain Africa’s ownership of its development process, which triggered a question to Masahiko about the feasibility of this concept amid continent’s economic challenges, with the presence of foreign competitors like China and India who have committed billions of dollars in support of Africa affairs. “We believe that without ownership of Africa nations, it would be not efficient, after all, when other donor countries pay money in what they want to do in recipient countries, give directions, achievement cannot happen,” he said.

Ambassador for TICAD Kiya Masahiko - Photo taken by Nourhan Magdi/Egypt Today

Adding to his argument, Masahiko said that “enormous amount of money is coming from India and China, but they key question is if this money will be for the sake of the country. We are aware that many counties end up in debt issue after accumulated loans.”

“The kind of investment Japan aim to is the investment where Africa does not incur problems, local human resources can be developed and operation and maintenance can be held by locals,” Masahiko added.

He further highlighted that the TICAD has a two-fold goal regarding investing in Africa, where Japan learns from other countries that have deep root in the continent, while at the same time encourage them to do more investments and improve their approach.

“The US has focused on humanitarian development in Africa for a long time. We want to work with them to focus also on economic development to improve likelihood of Africa people,” he said.

He outlined the main outcomes the summit aims for, including the diversification industries, quality infrastructure, human resource development, universal health coverage and improvement of investment environment, and institutions.

Among the outcomes of the initiatives is the CARD or Coalition for African Rice Development, which aimed to double rice population within 10 years, going from 14 million tons to 28 million tons, and the goal was achieved last year. Masahiko said that CARD2 will be launched at TICAD7 for another 10 years raising the production to 56 million tons by the year 2030.

This year, the 7th edition of the TICAD will be co-chaired fort the first time by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, in his capacity as the head of the African Union, along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

TICAD7 is held in Yokohama, Japan from August 28 to 30. It is the third time for Yokohama to host this biggest international event happening in Japan.



Leave a Comment

Be Social