Economic growth, vast consumer markets, and other factors expanded business opportunities in Africa.
However, the downward spiral in commodity prices, outbreaks of infectious disease, and acts of terrorism prompted the downsizing and withdrawal of businesses in Africa and held back new investments.
--> Africa's future promises and challenges require coolheaded approaches.
* Ensuring peace and stability will be a top priority for Japanese businesses to expand trade and investment.
2. Review of TICAD V Follow-up Measures
TICAD V follow-up measures call for effective application of the PDCA cycle.
On the whole, efforts by the Japanese government deserve high marks.For example, the formation of strategic master plans, security and disease countermeasures, and human resources development inthe business sector.
Efforts by African nations have not shown enough headway. Solutions are urgently needed in those areas marked by poor progress. Examples include efforts to develop infrastructure, strengthen the capacity of public institutions, improve the business environment, and conclude investment protection treaties.
3. Thoughts on Future African Strategy
(1) Implementation of a strategy that balances aid with investment
Over the medium and longer term, a shift from aid to investment should be pursued -- a move that will be supported by Africa's abundant resources and vast markets.
However, the near term approach should be powered by the dual engines of aid and investment.
--> Continuing efforts to develop the business environment, build infrastructure, and develop human resources will be essential.
(2) Priorities of African strategy
Reflecting the PDCA approach to the implementation of TICAD V measures, Japan needs to define strategically important countries and business areas and establish targets for accomplishment, implementation schedules, and other per country or per business area-specific strategies.
4. The Challenges Ahead
(1) Aid that spurs business activity
Aid that promotes large-scale agriculture and improvements in farm productivity, the creation of food value chains that incorporate processing, storage and distribution; the stable supply of electric power and water; and improvements in public health and hygiene; are necessary.
(2) Public-private-led programs to develop qualitatively advanced infrastructure
The strategic, broad implementation of material and knowledge-intensive undertakings in infrastructure development that contribute to formation of the industrial base
Early implementation and organic coordination of strategic master plans
(3) Measures to develop the business environment
Development of legal structures, steps in deregulation, the assurance of a level playing field, and the introduction of streamlined, fast-track administrative procedures
Creation of bilateral frameworks for public-private policy dialogue, the early conclusion of tax and investment treaties, and the exploration of possibilities to conclude economic partnership agreements (EPAs)
(4) Human resources training for sustainable growth
Continuation of the ABE Initiative and the operation of the industrial human resources development center, and strengthening of training for the administrative workforce