President Jacob Zuma says Africa is increasingly taking ownership and responsibility for its socio-economic destiny.
“We are committed to placing the continent firmly on a path of sustainable economic growth and development, and thus addressing the scourges of inequality, poverty and unemployment.
“Bearing this in mind, collaboration and investments by both the public and private sectors in infrastructure, manufacturing and information and communications technology (ICT) are essential for regional and continental growth,” said President Zuma.
The President was speaking at the 6th Summit of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), held in Nairobi, Kenya.
The TICAD VI Summit is a process that was initiated in 1993 as a platform for African development, specifically aimed at mobilising humanitarian aid and Official Development Assistance.
President Zuma noted that continental integration, boosting Intra-African trade and improving the continent’s capacity to resolve its own challenges, as identified by Agenda 2063, have been woven into every discussion he had across the globe, from climate change to governance and industrialisation.
“Let me briefly cite one example of what the continent is doing in terms of infrastructure development, namely the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative, which is supported by Nepad. The Algerian section of the optic-fibre link between Algeria and Nigeria via Niger has been completed and is now fully operational, improving Internet services and reducing the cost of ICT.
“It is expected that the optic fibre [network] will be further extended to neighbouring states. This is but one good example of the success of these projects in our continent. There are massive mutually beneficial opportunities available in Africa,” President Zuma said.
He urged all parties in TICAD to focus on its effective implementation, and for countries to intensify their collaborative efforts for the African Agenda.
This year’s summit is significant as it is the first to be hosted in Africa.
Bilateral relations between South Africa and Japan remain cordial and continue to strengthen, with regular exchanges of high-level visits, an increase in Japanese investments in South Africa and a wide range of technical areas of cooperation.
South Africa is Japan’s largest trade partner in Africa. It is estimated that about 140 Japanese firms, employing over 140 000 South Africans, operate in South Africa.