Opening Remarks H.E. Ms. Amina J. Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Eighth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD

Dear President Saied, Dear President Sall, Dear Prime Minister Kishida, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Heads of multilateral institutions, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish to start by expressing my gratitude to the Government and the People of Tunisia for their hospitality and to the Co-Chairs of 3 the Summit, the Government of Japan, and the Government of Senegal for their leadership and support for Africa.

I also take this opportunity to wish Prime Minister Kishida a speedy recovery and to convey greetings from the UN Secretary-General to this august gathering. Today I am privileged to be on this Podium but as an endangered species. As the first TICAD conference foresaw over 27 years ago, there can be no sustainable development 4 for all — until sustainable development is achieved in Africa. This conviction has borne fruit in the years since.

While we have made progress in many areas, today, the challenges before us are immense and put at risk the gains we have made. Thanks to platforms such as TICAD, we already have the partnerships in place to respond to these challenges together. This partnership must ensure concrete commitments and political ambition are delivered to achieve 5 the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 for the people of Africa. Africa’s wealth is in natural resources, arable land, and its vibrant young population as well as our women. The continent holds the key to its own development, and through its integration into the global economy, will ensure that the world is able to overcome many of today’s challenges. But too often, the world relegates Africa to the detriment of us all. 6 Yet, the Africa We Want is still within reach.

Taken together, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union 2063 Agenda provide the blueprint to achieve sustainable development on the continent. To do so, the world must urgently and collectively address the cascading impacts of multiple crises. 7 The COVID-19 pandemic recovery, the impacts of the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency and the financial crisis are placing already vulnerable populations under extreme stress. This ‘perfect storm’ is, in turn, creating a fertile breeding ground exacerbating existing and future conflict and unrest, thus compromising our collective efforts to achieve the SDGs and save lives and livelihoods. Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, 8 We have an unprecedented chance to overcome these challenges and address Africa’s security and sustainable development needs.

The African Continental Free Trade Area represents a great opportunity to industrialize, diversify and digitize economies, and enhance regional cooperation and resilience. African leaders and institutions like the African Union, African Development Bank, Afrexim Bank, African Continental Free Trade Area are at the forefront of this endeavor. 9 Looking ahead, efforts are needed to accelerate action across three main transitions, to benefit African economies and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. In this, Japan is a key player. First – ensuring universal energy access and a just and equitable transition to renewable energy. A comprehensive approach that charts Africa’s energy development pathways, anchored on sustainable investments and strong partnerships, such as TICAD, is essential. 10 With the energy access gap impacting about 600 million people, Africa will need the “energy development space” to keep pace with its ambitions for universal, reliable and affordable access to clean energy.

This will be supported by the Secretary-General’s Global Roadmap on Energy, and his calls to accelerate a rapid transition to renewable energy to keep the 1.5C goal alive. The current global rise in energy prices can also prompt 11 African countries to maximize the continent’s great potential for renewable energy. But this will require timely investments at scale. Second, it is urgent to transform our food systems. This means achieving food security, nutrition, self-sufficiency and jobs for youth across the continent. Expanding Africa’s breadbasket requires enhanced agriculture productivity and food systems that leverage new technology of modern irrigation systems, the 12 mechanization of farming and the reduction of post-harvest losses, which are high priorities for the continent. The TICAD partnership can propel food systems transformation through appropriate investments and affordable technology and innovations at scale.

At the core is the opportunity to bring green jobs to our youth and women. Lastly, there can be no solution to these interconnected crises if we don’t address inequality and its underlying factors. 13 There is need for a shift in the perception of Africa as dependent continent to one that is a key actor on the global stage, with the same rights and standing as any other region. Be it economic or political. The mobilization of adequate financing for sustainable development is an imperative. At the global level, this requires concerted efforts from all of us — including the G20, International Financial Institutions, and Multilateral and Regional 14 Development Banks to free up additional fiscal space and find solutions to the current debt crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The United Nations will continue to advocate for immediate debt relief and increased liquidity, the rechanneling of unused Special Drawing Rights to countries in need and reforming the criteria to assess eligibility. We must ensure all countries who need it can immediately access financial support, on good terms and over a long time period. 15 TICAD’s multilateral and comprehensive partnership platform, including strong private sector participation, and principle of African ownership, can promote public private partnerships.


This would include improving efficiency in public expenditures, strengthening revenue collection, harnessing private savings and private financial sector for development, and prioritizing investments in social protection and decent job creation while leveraging fintech. The role of and impact in the lives of youth and women must be a key outcome. 16 It would also mean exploring opportunities for Africa to contribute as a player in global value chains, and to the global food and energy markets, leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area. Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, This conference comes at a time when we must urgently consolidate our partnerships and – together with all of you – build a prosperous and sustainable Africa in which no one is left behind. 17 I urge all of us to seize the opportunity of the upcoming General Assembly, the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, the G20 Meeting and the COP 27 to reinforce the actions we must take together to recover better from the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to the impact of the continuing war in Ukraine.

In doing so, we must remember that we are starting from nothing — what we need now are solid building blocks to achieve our 18 ambition of delivering Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Africa. Once again I would like to reiterate that the United Nations stands ready to continue to accompany African countries in this journey. Let me end by quoting Nelson Mandela who said: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Thank you.

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