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ARUSHA, Tanzania, 1 June 2013 / PRNewswire Africa / – The 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) officially opened at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Centre in Yokohama, Japan with the Prime Minister of Japan H.E. Mr. Shinzo Abe announcing a 3.2 trillion yen (approximately 32 billion USD), including Official Development Assistance of around 1.4 trillion yen and other public and private resources of around 16 billion dollars to support African growth through public-private partnership over the next five years.

Prime Minister Abe, who is co-chairing the Conference with His Excellency Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, said “what Africa needs now was private-sector investment and that Public – Private – Partnership (PPP) leverages that investment”. He said this was the time to revolutionize the way of providing assistance to Africa

The Japanese Prime Minister also announced that Japan will underwrite a maximum of 2 billion dollars of trade insurance and will bring its assistance resoundingly into play in capacity development in Africa. Japan will also provide 650 billion yen (approximately 6.5 billion (USD) to infrastructure development over the next five years. The funds will go to developing the infrastructure that Africa itself deems necessary and plans itself, and priority will be placed on international corridors that link inland areas with the coasts, and also power grids.

The Chairperson of the EAC Heads of State Summit President Yoweri Museveni enumerated some of the bottlenecks impacting the building of a robust and sustainably developing economy in Africa. Among these, is the small internal markets created by the balkanization of colonization. President Museveni informed participants that this bottleneck was being addressed through market integration by the way of the regional blocs namely the East African Community (EAC), COMESA, ECOWAS, ECCAS and SADC. “We are also working for the Common Market of the whole of Africa. In addition to this, we have also negotiated for quota-free, tariff-free access to external markets with the USA, EU, China, Japan, etc. Those who offered these markets should operationalize the offer” noted the Chairperson of the EAC Heads of State Summit.

He said as the Continent continues to resolve the bottlenecks, Africa's economy will roar at greater speed. “Now that Africa is getting out of that long darkness of slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism, the impact of its populations on the World economy will be greatly felt. This is good for Africa and for the rest of the World”, affirmed President Museveni.
All the leaders of the EAC are represented at the TICAD V.

Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the East African Community Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has held talks with Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) H.E. Mr. Kurokawa Tsuneo on the sidelines of TICAD V at the National Convention Hall of Yokohama.

Amb. Sezibera thanked the Japanese Government and its people through JICA for their support to the EAC especially in infrastructure development. He said two Bills had been passed by the regional East African Legislative Assembly, namely; The EAC One Stop Border Post (OSBP) Bill and The EAC Vehicle Load Control Bill. The drafting of the two Bills was supported by JICA. He called upon JICA to consider supporting EAC again in the technical drafting of the regulations, validation process for the drafted regulations and publications. He said regulations to support implementation of the two Bills were very critical.

Amb. Sezibera and H.E. Kurokawa Tsuneo reviewed the following EAC priority projects for the medium term for JICA's consideration, in the overall context of TICAD support: construction of Rusumo International Bridge including OSBP facility; rehabilitation of Piers at Musoma, Mwanza, Kisumu and Port Bell on Lake Victoria; Zambia – Tanzania – Kenya power grid interconnection; Uganda – Tanzania: 200kV Power Transmission Line (Masaka-Mwanza); and Lake Tanganyika Maritime Transport Upgrading; Bujumbura and Kigoma Port to serve Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also discussed was implementation of the EAC Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Strategy; rehabilitation and upgrading of Climate Observing Stations and Enhancement of Prediction Capabilities; implementation of the Ten-Year Strategy for Biodiversity (2011-2012) including attaining the Aichi Nagoya Targets on Biodiversity; and promotion of Low carbon Emissions Development in the EAC region.

The Vice President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) H.E. Mr. Kurokawa Tsuneo affirmed JICA's continued support to the EAC and urged the Secretary General to also engage the Private Sector in the EAC as the Japanese Government was now synchronizing Aid Agencies with it (the private sector). He said JICA and JETRO were now mobilizing the private sector in Japan to explore business opportunities in the EAC.
The two sides agreed to mutually move very fast in kick-starting and actualizing the identified priority areas of cooperation.

The fifth Tokyo International Conference on African development (TICAD) is dedicated to the African development and is co-organized by the Government of Japan, the United Nations, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union.

The Conference is laying emphasis on accelerating growth while focusing on poverty and vulnerability reduction as a way of building resilient societies in Africa.

Apart from dealing with economic growth of Africa, the conference is also delving into achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), consolidation of peace and good governance and climate change challenges in the continent.
SOURCE : East African Community Secretariat (EAC)

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