Yesterday, NEPAD Agency CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki hosted a delegation of 10 Japanese Ambassadors and Deputy Mission Heads based in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The aim of the courtesy visit on the CEO was to explore concrete areas of collaboration between the NEPAD Agency and Japan in the SADC region.
In his opening remarks, Dr Mayaki emphasised the “intelligent partnerships" between the NEPAD Agency and Japan since the inception of NEPAD in 2001. Dr Mayaki further noted that this partnership has been strengthened through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in which the NEPAD Agency took a lead role as a co-organiser. TICAD is a global framework for Asia and Africa to collaborate in promoting Africa's development. TICAD V, the fifth conference, was held last year June in Yokohama.
Dr Mayaki also highlighted the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the NEPAD Agency and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the side-lines of TICAD V, which established a comprehensive partnership framework for collaboration in the fields of common interest such as infrastructure, agriculture and capacity building.
Ambassador Kobayashi in charge of RECs, Peace and Security in Africa (centre) who led the delegation, said that this visit would provide an opportunity to follow up on the commitments made under TICAD and to learn more about NEPAD’s priorities and needs, so as to open up business opportunities for the Japanese private sector, and improve networking and knowledge sharing.
Ambassador Hiroki particularly emphasised on the areas of collaboration under NEPAD’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and said that PIDA provides a good guideline for Japan to explore Public Private Partnerships and to support capacity building in the energy sector.
Mr Adama Deen, Head of the Infrastructure Strategic Business Unit highlighted in his presentation selected priority energy projects in SADC such as the Batoka Gorge Hydro Power Station planned on the Zambezi River between the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, the ZTK Power Transmission corridor connecting the power networks of Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya as well as the Mpanda Nkuwa Hydropower plant situated in Mozambique on the Zambezi River basin to supply electricity to South Africa.
Later that day, Mr Deen continued his presentation on concrete trans-boundary infrastructure projects for financing and capacity building support at a high-level Public Private Policy Dialogue for Regional Development in Southern Africa.
Mr Adama Deen giving a presentation on PIDA at the Public Private Partnership Dialogue in Pretoria
The Dialogue which took place at the Embassy of Japan in Pretoria brought together Japanese Ambassadors, the Japanese private sector including Toshiba, Toyota and Mitsubishi, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Officials from SADC and the Development of Southern Africa (DBSA).
Ambassador Kobayashi, who spoke on behalf of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said that SADC is a strategic partner for his country as the region accumulates 40 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP whilst 50 per cent of Japan’s total trade with Africa is in SADC. There was increasing interest of Japanese businesses to invest and work with Africa, he said.
He further noted that Japan through TICAD V has pledged 5 billion USD to support regional development in Africa and an additional amount of 6 billion USD for the development of infrastructure. In line with PIDA, Japan is already working on 5 infrastructure master plans, he said.
Mr Deen presented a selection of bankable infrastructure projects that were identified at the Dakar Financing Summit. These included the Ruzzizi III Hydropower Project, Abdidjan-Lagos Coastal Corridor and Dakar Bamako Rail Line. He made concrete proposals on how the private sector could come in to support project preparation and implementation.
Ambassador Kobayashi assured all present that the outcomes of this Dialogue will be shared at the highest political level with the Economic Strategic Council on Africa in order to prepare for the next TICAD conference which will be held for the first time on African soil.