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Participant biographies (315 KB PDF)
Video Message from Wangari Maathai
Watch the video message from Wanagari Maathai to the 2010 Africa Day Symposium.
Africa has contributed virtually nothing to the causes of global warming, yet it will bear the brunt of climate change. The continent is already experiencing greater climatic variability. Droughts and floods of greater-than-normal severity expose millions of people to dire humanitarian consequences and severely hamper efforts being made by African countries to tackle poverty. Climate change poses a serious threat to the continent’s development prospects.
This is why African countries have adopted a common position for international climate change negotiations and have decided to speak with one voice for the first time in history by fielding a single negotiating team comprised of ten African heads of state and government and chaired by Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi. The continent seeks to ensure that its interests and insights are given a strong voice in international negotiations and are reflected in the outcomes of those negotiations.
This year’s Africa Day Symposium is set against the backdrop of the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) held in Copenhagen, Denmark from 7-19 December 2009, which culminated in the Copenhagen Accord. The 14th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union held from 31st January to 2nd of February 2010 endorsed the provisions of the accord and encouraged all member states that may wish to do so to make individual submissions to the secretariat of the UNFCCC supporting the accord in the context of common but differentiated responsibilities.
The symposium is also being held at a time when preparations are in full swing for COP 16 (to be held in Cancún, Mexico, in November-December 2010) and for the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP 10 (to be held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010). It is therefore timely and fitting that the Africa Day Symposium reflects on the outcome of COP 15 and deliberates on the upcoming series of negotiations related to COP 16 and COP 10 with particular reference to Africa.
Japan has been at the forefront of the countries that have taken bold steps in addressing the effects of climate change by announcing the Hatoyama Initiative, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 25% in 2020 compared to 1990 levels. During COP 15 in Copenhagen, Japan also announced under the Hatoyama Initiative a support package which intends to allocate US $15 billion ($11 billion in public financing and the rest covered by private financing) to help developing countries mitigate the impacts of climate change. The symposium will examine this initiative and how African countries might benefit, and will provide a platform for views on how Africa and Japan can continue to work together.
Prominent speakers from Africa and Japan including representatives from governments, international organizations, the academia and others will be invited to address the symposium, share their insights, and enrich the debate on climate change, biodiversity, and other environmental issues critical not just to Africa’s future, but to that of the entire planet.
Wanagari Maathai, video message
Gabriel Alexandre Sar
Mohamed Ahmed Tawfic
Africa Day 2009 · 25 May
The Global Financial Crisis and its Impact on Africa: The Role of Japan and TICAD
The TICAD ministerial follow-up meeting held in Botswana on 21 and 22 March 2009 presented an opportunity for African countries to jointly voice their concerns and to present actions which could mitigate the impact of the financial crisis. On this occasion the Japanese government announced that despite the global financial crisis it is maintaining its pledge to double its development aid to Africa, and will continue with its commitment to African development. A few days after the TICAD ministerial follow-up meeting, both the Japanese representation and the African representation present at the London Summit 2009 could join their voices in reiterating their concerns and commitments.
However, and despite the emphasis also given to the importance of enhancing African development by the UN and civil society over the weeks leading to the summit, the final communiqué refers to Africa only once, in its last section entitled “Ensuring a fair and sustainable recovery for all”:
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf on Africa and the financial crisis
"It would be a cruel irony if, just as Africa began to succeed, its prospects were cut short by a crisis beyond its control. Strong action by African governments and robust support from the international community can keep Africa's recovery on track. Both should continue to do their part."
By addressing the issue in the last part of their final communiqué, were the world leaders from the G20 countries — representing 85% of the world’s output — indeed failing to put to the forefront African Development, as has been argued with regards to climate change (also only mentioned in that same last section)?
The participants of the 2009 Africa Day Symposium will highlight through their presentations how Africa and its people are in need of enhanced support from developed countries, and reiterate the importance of supporting the African continent and its people amidst the current global crisis.
According to some economists, including Shanta Devarajan from the World Bank:
Kofi Annan, Africa Progress Panel
"While the global crisis has revealed the commitment of African leaders to maintaining macro-economic discipline, growth and investment in the Millennium Development Goals, they cannot do it alone."
Recent reports from the UN further highlight that the financial crisis is deepening extreme poverty and is leading to an increase in child mortality rates (see UNESCO Portal entitled the “Global Crisis” which features recent analysis of the crisis prepared by the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (GMR) team).
Adding to these concerns, African leaders have warned that a lack of support from donor countries may further lead to a resurgence of conflicts as stability remains fragile in some areas. (See BBC, 2009.03.16: "Downturn 'risks Africa conflict'".)
Furthermore, experts, including Daniel Kaufman, Senior Scholar at the Brookings Institution, have highlighted how the final communiqué of the London Summit 2009 is positive in its reiteration of the G20’s commitments to development, ODA pledges and others, however:
Concerns over the impact of the global crisis on levels of development assistance were further emphasized by the chief executives of 28 UN bodies, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, when they met at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on the weekend of 4 and 5 April 2009. The final communiqué they issued on 5 April stipulates:
In a publication prepared ahead of the London 2009 Summit, Ernest Aryeetey and John Page highlight how the crisis presents African governments with opportunities for changes and reforms that can enable the continent to position itself better for the time of recovery. However, they further remind us that:
Wim Naudé, UNU-WIDER
"In particular, the crisis is by now having serious ramifications for developing countries. While many developing countries have managed so far to avoid recession, growth expectations for 2009 have been revised significantly downward."
The 2009 Africa Day Symposium provides an opportunity to reflect on these issues, and is extremely timely in the run-up to the UN Summit on the Financial Crisis which is scheduled to take place from 1 to 3 June 2009. The 2009 Africa Day Symposium, by providing a platform for African experts in Japan, contributes to ensuring that assisting developing countries, and most specifically the African continent and its people, remains a priority in this time of turmoil.
Jean Christian Obame
Nobuhide Minorikawa (JP)
Eiji Hashimoto (JP)
Africa Day 2008 · 9 September
Africa’s Food Situation: Crisis to Opportunities; New Perspectives for Africa
The 2008 Africa Day Symposium will explore how the African continent and its development partners can address the current food crisis. Particular emphasis will be given to the TICAD IV follow-up mechanism; the symposium participants will further aim to identifying possible ways forward to address the food security issue and to enable the foundation of a more harmonious and sustainable development path for the entire continent.
As highlighted in the Africa Progress Panel 2008:
Africa is facing the worst consequences of the food crisis. The Food and Agricultural Organisation notes that “of the 37 countries hardest hit, 21 are in Africa. Four of these countries — Lesotho, Somalia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe — are classified as having ‘exceptional shortfalls’ in food, four more — Eritrea, Liberia, Mauritania and Sierra Leone — have ‘widespread lack of access’ and another 13 countries are classified as countries with ‘severe localized food insecurity’”.
The Africa Progress Panel 2008 further highlights that “unless some way can be found to stop the rise in food prices, it is likely that there will be a sharp increase in infant and child mortality as well as an increase in adults dying from infectious diseases.”
On the occasion of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV), the Japanese government pledged not only to contribute to the solving of the current crisis by providing emergency food aid but also to bring the green Revolution to Africa. In his address at the Opening Session of the TICAD IV, Prime Minister Fukuda declared “As Africa seeks to achieve its own Green Revolution, I would like to put out a call for action, aiming to double the current rice production output of 14 million tons over the next ten years.”
According to the TICAD IV Yokohama Action Plan:
It is in this context that the 2008 Africa Day symposium will aim to further increasing awareness on the necessity to meet the food needs of the African people and to enable and foster the Green Revolution for the African Continent. It is expected that the symposium participants will develop concrete and innovative thinking which can enable Africa and its development partners to work together towards addressing this global challenge.
Speeches and Presentations
Elly Elikunda Elineema Mtango
Walid Mahmoud Abdelnasser
Mokhele Rantsie Likate
At the recent TICAD IV conference in Yokohama, UNU spoke to delegates about a range of issues facing Africa. Among them was the food crisis.
Africa Day 2007 · 25 May
Financial Instruments for the Promotion of Infrastructure, Trade and Investment between Japan and Africa
Programme (44 KB PDF)
UNU & Africa
On the occasion of the 2007 UNU Africa Day Symposium, UNU prepared a pamphlet which features some of its activities in and on Africa:
Focus on Africa, 2007
The 2007 Africa Day Symposium examined the main policy/actions recently adopted by the Japanese Government and its agencies — the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) — to boost trade and investment flows with Africa. The symposium also sought to contribute to preparations for the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) and to the G8 Summit, both being held in Japan in 2008. The goal is to create additional opportunities for the adoption and implementation of good policy recommendations regarding African development.
In the policy brief prepared four years previously for the third TICAD, UNU advocated the importance of infrastructure, regional integration and capital flows as elements of the African development equation, as highlighted by the NEPAD. The fact that infrastructures and poverty reduction are closely interlinked stresses the importance of having an accurate definition of infrastructure. We advocated, and still do, that such a definition of infrastructure must not only include hard infrastructure, such as railways, roads and bridges, but also soft infrastructure, such as education, health, information and communication technology (ICT), and not least good governance.
Even though the focus of the 2007 symposium was on financial infrastructures, in line with policies developed by the ADC, it is now time to go beyond the traditional concept of Capacity Development and to encourage a better fostering of intellectual abilities and capacities.
Only adequate intellectual infrastructures can enable the African people to take the lead in shaping their own future and development process. The available infrastructures are far from adequate which reflects negatively on all development efforts. The issue of the ownership process in development is crucial for success.
Speeches and Presentations
Hans van Ginkel
Salah B. Hannachi
Expression of Appreciation
Yoshiro Mori (JP)
Bouna Sémou Diouf
Midori Matsushima (JP)
Africa Day 2006 · 25 May
Tools for Development: the Role of Trade, Investment and ODA
The 2006 Africa Day Symposium featured H.E. Mr. Festus G. Mogae, president of the Republic of Botswana, who spoke on Tools for Development: the Role of Trade, Investment and ODA. Mr. Mogae said in his remarks that "the question of whether aid is given as a moral obligation of the rich to the poor or is better given to NGOs instead of Governments is a sterile debate. What is critical is to ensure comprehensive accountability and that aid is fully responsive to recipient needs."
Opening remarks were delivered by Shintaro Ito, Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. The keynote session was followed by a panel discussion entitled "How can Africa benefit most from Trade, Investment and ODA?" The panellists were: Mr. Festus G. Mogae, President of the Republic of Botswana; Yoichi Otabe, Director General for Sub-Saharan African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Hideo Yamachika, Director, Technical Cooperation Division, Trade and Economic Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Reijiro Hattori, Chairman, The African Society of Japan; Mamoru Kotake, President, Corochan Co. Ltd.; and H.E. Wasswa Birigwa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Uganda.
Africa Day 2005 · 18 May
Digital Partnership: Hopes and Inspirations from Bandung
The 2005 Africa Day Symposium coincided with the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) thematic meeting “Towards the Realization of the Ubiquitous Network Society,” which was organized by the Government of Japan, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and UNU on 16 and 17 May. The objective of the symposium was to highlight the importance of promoting “digital partnership” and bridging the digital divide, issues that will be addressed at the Second Phase of the WSIS to be held in Tunis in November.
The 2005 Africa Day Symposium also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference (of Asian and African national leaders) and served as an opportunity to further strengthen African–Asian cooperation. It also sought to inform the G8 Summit held at Gleneagles, Scotland, in July 2005.
Africa Day 2004 · 24 May
Trade & Investment in the Context of TICAD
Africa Day 2004 Report (812 KB PDF)
Programme (108 KB PDF)
Media Release (76 KB PDF)
The 2004 Africa Day Symposium was the first Africa Day celebration held after the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III), which took place in autumn 2003. Based on the past experience of its collaboration with the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), UNU set up an "African Experts Group" in 2003 to prepare for TICAD III. This expert group is composed of members coming from the ADC, UNU, and the research community. The small group met for the first time in July 2003 to discuss such issues as the role of infrastructure, capital flows, and the integration and development of Africa. A number of conclusions were drawn, and a policy brief was prepared in time for the conference: TICAD III – United Nations University's Policy Brief.
The Africa Experts Group met again in the spring of 2004 to reflect on TICAD III and the implementation of its decisions. The workshop was also intended to prepare for the 2004 Africa Day Symposium. This time, the group's discussions focused on issues such as trade facilitation, aid and development, and the regional integration of human security. During the preparation of the 2004 Africa Day celebration, UNU and ADC agreed that the 2004 public symposium should bring to the forefront the importance of enhancing trade and investment in Africa. In our view, this aim is in complete harmony with the recommendations adopted on the occasion of TICAD III.
The second reason that this year's topic of "Trade and Investment in the Context of TICAD" was extremely timely is that the discussions of the 2004 Africa Day Symposium provided valuable input for an important forum held later in the year, the TICAD Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference (AATIC).
Building capacity in Africa: JITAP and other trade-related technical assistance initiatives
Investment and Private Sector Development in Africa: Challenges and Opportunities
Enhancing TICAD Follow up process: The African Diplomatic Corps perspectives
Africa Day 2003 · 13 May
The Role of Infrastructure in the Development and Integration of Africa
Africa Day 2003 Report (236 KB PDF)
Programme (120 KB PDF)
Media Release (80 KB PDF)
The 2003 Africa Day Symposium was intended to generate specific input for the G8 Summit held in Evian (France) in June 2003, and for the Third Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD III) to be held during September/October 2003 in Tokyo.
Acknowledging that the lack of adequate infrastructure constitutes a major obstacle to the development and integration of the African continent, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has identified infrastructure as one of its priorities. Quality infrastructure is needed to place Africa on a path of sustainable growth and development. On the occasion of Africa Day 2003, symposium participants highlighted the importance of adopting a definition of infrastructure that includes both hard infrastructure (such as transportation, rural electrification, clean water supply and sanitation) and soft infrastructure (such as education, health, telecommunications, information and communication technology, global governance, etc.).
With NEPAD, African leaders have stressed the benefits of regional integration, whereby capacities and resources are pooled together. Symposium participants underscored the positive impact that regional integration can have on Africa's international competitiveness.
Furthermore, participants emphasized that the mobilization of funds for infrastructure development requires close cooperation between African governments, governments of developed countries, the private sector, UN agencies and development banks. In addition to resources provided through Official Development Assistance (ODA), Africa needs to open up infrastructure development to private investors - if necessary, in a mutually beneficial partnership with the public sector. The challenge lies in creating an environment that, on one hand, is attractive and secure for private investors and, on the other hand, protects the interests of the poorest.
Keynote speech by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal:
The Role of Infrastructure in Development and Regional Integration (168 KB PDF, English)
Le Role des Infrastructures dans le Developpement et l'Integration Regionale (148 KB PDF, Français)
Speech of Bernard de Montferrand, Ambassador of France (G8 Chair Country)
Discours de l'Ambassadeur de France au Japon, M. Bernard de Montferrand (140 KB PDF, Français)
Overview of Financing and Investment to Africa: Challenges and Risk Management
Africa Day 2002 · 23 May
Regional Integration and Infrastructure Development in Africa
Summary Input for G8
Integrating Africa (88 KB PDF)
Programme (100 KB PDF)
Media Release (84 KB PDF)
The 2002 Africa Day symposium was intended to familiarize stakeholders in Japan with the background and substance of regional integration efforts in Africa, and to provide concrete examples in the area of transport and information and communication technology. The symposium was also intended to provide input to the ongoing New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) initiative, the 2003 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and 2002 G8 Summit held in June in Kananaskis, Canada.
Africa Day 2001 · 22 May
The Millenium Africa Programme
The theme of the 2001 Africa Day Symposium was the Millennium Africa Recovery Plan (MAP), Africa's own development strategy for the continent that was developed by President Obasanjo, along with President Mbeki of South Africa and President Bouteflika of Algeria.
The Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme is a pledge by African leaders based on a common vision, and a firm and shared conviction that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, and to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. It is anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalising world.
Speeches and Statements
Keynote speech by H.E. President Olusegun Obasanjo:
Keynote speech (80 KB PDF)
The Millenium Africa Plan (176 KB PDF)
Speech by H.E. Jean-Christian Obame, Ambassador of Gabon:
Le Financement du Programme pour la Renaissance de l'Afrique et la Contrainte de la Dette (100 KB PDF, Français)
Statement from the African Diplomatic Corps and United Nations University:
A Message from Tokyo (92 KB PDF, English)
Un Message de Tokyo (96 KB PDF, Français)
Africa Day 2000 · 19 May
The Millenium Africa Programme
Conference Report (124 KB PDF)
The Africa Day symposia began with the conference in 2000, held a celebration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity. The conference sought to ensure that Africa ranked high on the agenda of the year's G8 Summit meeting held in Okinawa, and sought also to inform the Millenium Summit Meeting held at the United Nations in New York the same year.
Page last modified 2011.06.07.
In Priority Africa:
Africa Day Symposiums
In May 1963, thirty-two independent African States, who had genuine hopes and visions for the continent of Africa, came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to create the Organization of African Unity (OAU). The Africa Day symposium was first envisioned as an annual event in celebration of the founding of the OAU.
See the Sirte Declaration, the founding document of the African Union.