NEPAD takes centre stage at TICAD III

Tokyo- Japan (PANA) -- Several African heads of state are due here this weekend for the 3rd Tokyo Conference on African Development (TICAD III) scheduled for 29 September through 1 October with particular focus on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the organisers indicated Saturday.
TICAD was launched in 1993 by the Japanese government in conjunction with the UN and the Global Fund for Africa (GFA) as a forum to seek international support for development initiatives across the continent.
TICAD III would size up avenues available within NEPAD for expanding cooperation mainly between Asian and African countries, according to the organisers - the Japanese government, UN, GFA and World Bank.
In a release ahead of the conference, which will also mark the 10th anniversary of TICAD, the organisers acknowledged NEPAD as "a unique forum for high-level dialogue and consensus-building," affirming that TICAD III was committed to creating full synergy between the two initiatives - TICAD and NEPAD.
TICAD becomes the third international forum to endorse NEPAD as Africa's development road map, after the blueprint was acclaimed by the Group of Industrialised Countries (G8) and the UN General Assembly which last year approved a recommendation by Secretary General Kofi Annan, that NEPAD be the framework for international support for Africa.
Highly awaited at the Tokyo meeting are the main architects of NEPAD, including Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, who would update participants on the evolution within the scheme, as well as suggest new approaches to partnership under TICAD as a consequence of the new development game plan.
According to the organisers, close to 20 African leaders, including current African Union (AU) chairman Joachim Chissano of Mozambique would attend what is expected to be the most affluent conference yet, since TICAD I (1993) and TICAD II (1998).
Delegations are expected from virtually all African countries, save Guinea Bissau still in the throes of the coup that toppled president Kumba Yala, and war-weary Liberia, which is still to sort out the formation of a post-conflict transitional government.
Incidentally, the agenda of the Tokyo conference also has political stability among its focal points.
At pre-conference meetings held earlier in Pretoria (22, 23 May) for countries in southern Africa, Nairobi (5, 6 June) for North and East African countries, and in Yaounde (23, 24 June) for countries in West and Central Africa, the consolidation of peace and the furtherance of good governance were earmarked for discussion at TICAD III.
Other areas of interest at the conference include agricultural development, private sector development, infrastructure, and the development of human resources in the domains of education, health and gender issues, the organisers have indicated.
The HIV/AIDS pandemic and other infectious diseases ravaging Africa, the continent's drawbacks in the sphere of information and communication technology, and boosting of Afro-Asian cooperation are also slated for discussion.
In what observers here hail as an emerging lobby for development assistance to Africa void of colonial hangovers or imperialist underpinnings, the organisers said as many as 38 donor and Asian states would be represented at TICAD III.
In all, some 90 countries and 31 organisations are on roll for the conference, the organisers confirmed.
TICAD III comes at a time when the forum is emphasising concrete translation of cooperation formulas mooted at previous confabs to help Africa draw from especially the Asian experience in forging economic growth and development.
Accordingly, the meeting would also take stock of the Tokyo Agenda for Action that was adopted at the previous TICAD II conference.
That agenda stressed "the underlying principle of ownership and partnership, regional cooperation and integration, and South- South cooperation with particular emphasis on Asia-Africa cooperation," much in tandem with the aspirations of NEPAD.
Hence organisers of TICAD III envisage "a new set of priorities" fine-tuned to accommodate concerns raised and solutions proposed in NEPAD.

27 september 2003 16:06:00

xhtml CSS