SA, Japan ‘back private sector growth’

3 June 2013

The fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) concluded on Monday, with leaders from Africa and Japan agreeing to promote private sector-led growth in Africa.

“Affirming that the private sector is a vital engine of growth, we will support and strengthen the private sector, promote greater private investment, and improve the investment climate and legal and regulatory frameworks,” says the Yokohama Declaration 2013, adopted at the end of the three-day international conference.

The conference was attended by over 40 Heads of State and Government, including President Jacob Zuma.

Together with the declaration, an action plan for the coming five years – the Yokohama Action Plan 2013-2017 – was also adopted at the conference.

The action plan covers a wide range of areas, including boosting economic growth; accelerating infrastructure and capacity development; empowering farmers as mainstream economic actors; promoting sustainable and resilient growth; creating an inclusive society for growth; consolidating peace, stability, democracy and good governance and the follow-up mechanism.

Participants emphasized the roles that women and young people play in education, and said health and education should be improved for them.

The declaration says peace and stability are prerequisites for growth and efforts will be made to strengthen “Africa’s capacity to create, nurture and protect peace by supporting its own initiatives”.

Agriculture was also identified as one of the key areas for growth. The declaration says expansion of agriculture and agribusiness is fundamental to sustaining economic growth in Africa, given their potential to generate employment, increase rural incomes and improve the livelihood of farmers.

On the Millennium Development Goals, the parties will commit to “accelerating efforts” to achieve the goals in Africa by 2015 and jointly exercise leadership in establishing the post-2015 development framework, which will make the African voice heard in the development agenda.