Japan fosters human development in ties with Africa

Libreville- Gabon (PANA) -- Africa's human resources development constitutes a key component of Japan's cooperation with countries of the continent, prioritising basic health, education and water provision.
Since 1998, Japanese assistance worth 90 billion yen (about 750 million dollars) has been earmarked, with 63 billion yen of the amount already allocated to the above-mentioned sectors within the framework of the "Tokyo Action Plan".
This scheme, which prioritises human resources development, aims at implementing new initiatives in Africa relative to education with a staggering 250 billion yen (2 billion dollars) spread over a five-year period effective 2002.
The assistance fits into the "basic education support for growth initiative", the embassy said.
Japan also intends to promote Africa's growth by strengthening the solidarity and synergetic effects of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa's Development (TICAD) and NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) processes under which the human person remains prime, the Japanese embassy said here at the weekend.
TICAD was jointly set up in 1993 by the Japanese government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) to spur global action for Africa's development, while NEPAD is generally accepted as the roadmap for Africa's development.
The "Okinawa initiative against infectious diseases", financed by the Japanese government through the United Nations "Fund for human security", covers one of the Asian country's prime mode of assistance to the health sector.
But Japan also shows special interest in accessing developing countries' products to its market, as well as improvement of their business capacities.
In this regard, efforts have been made to review customs duties by lifting the limitation on the tonnage of products from least developed countries (LDCs), while special proposals relative to customs duties are planned for the 2003 fiscal year.
To help achieve food security on the continent, sharing the Asian experience with Africa has contributed to a new high yielding rice variety dubbed the New Rice for Africa (NERICA), a cross- breed of Asian and African rice varieties.
While inter-continental cooperation tops the agenda, Japan intends to support African countries through the promotion of regional cooperation, extension of their markets and the efficient use of resources for development.
Such entails effectively bringing into focus the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and strengthening collaboration among experts in the field of development and trade.
The ultimate objective of these efforts is to realise a "critical size" economy, support capacity building of regional bodies, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in order to promote economic exchanges within Africa.
To date Japan, the most important donor country in the world, has contributed about 120 billion dollars, about one-fifth of the contributions of members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), over the past ten years to tackle global problems, the Japanese embassy disclosed.
It said Tokyo also contributed 4.
8 billion dollars -- representing a quarter of all the contributions of the group of eight most industrialised countries (G8) -- to the debt relief initiative.
The Japanese government, however, still intends to pursue assistance measures in favour of Africa within the framework of "Solidarity between Japan and Africa" policy and to support the action plan for Africa, recommended by the G8.

29 septembre 2003 16:37:00

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