The post-COVID-19 economic recovery and the various challenges resulting from the pandemic (digitalisation and green economy), will be at heart of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 8), Japan's ambassador to Tunisia Shinsuke Shimizu said on 6 June 2022.
Speaking at a press conference in Tunis, the ambassador added that the preparations for TICAD 8 are well underway, highlighting the major role of the private sector in this event.
Japan plans to propose several initiatives to support startups and green economy projects during TICAD 8 which will be hosted by Tunisia on August 27 and 28.
He said the government plays a crucial role in supporting the private sector and improving the business climate, because the decision of private investors depends on good governance, transparency and political stability in the country.
The most effective way to achieve this is to put in place the appropriate legal framework, the ambassador added, noting that Japan is currently negotiating with Tunisia two agreements in the areas of investment and double taxation before TICAD8.
“TICAD does not offer a fixed package to a given country; it is rather an opportunity for the entire African continent to attract Japanese investment,” Shimizu pointed out, saying TICAD is both a bilateral and multilateral programme.
Consequently, “Japanese investments will be allocated to the best African projects, depending on their profitability, the risks they present and the business climate in the country.”
With regard to Tunisia, he said “if there are good projects and if the business climate is considered better than in other countries, there will be Japanese investment agreements to be concluded.” However, developing a reform plan and signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are still essential.
“Holding TICAD 8 in Tunisia is a good opportunity to show the country's potential as a gateway to Africa to build strategic partnerships, linking Japan to the African continent.”
The ambassador estimated that there will be projects to be signed during TICAD 8, either between Japan and Tunisia or triangular projects (Japan-Tunisia-Africa), as well as Afro-Japanese partnerships.
He recalled that the White Paper launched by the Tunisian- Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCITJ) involves some thirty promising projects in the fields of digital, health and renewable energy. These are concrete projects of triangular partnership as well as bilateral projects that can be exported to other African countries.
The Japanese PM plans to visit Tunisia during the TICAD 8, a first in the history of Tunisian-Japanese diplomatic relations, according to Shimizu.
For his part, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Tunisia Shuhei Ueno said the agency plans to launch 26 online side events from August 22 to 26, 2022, adding these activities are based on three pillars related to society, economy and peace.
These events address five priorities on promoting and using transformative digitalisation, gender mainstreaming, climate change mainstreaming, strengthening partnership with various stakeholders and sharing Japan's development experiences.
Other events include agriculture, regional integration, climate change, climate resilience, nutrition, infrastructure investments... Ueno recalled that TICAD 7 which was held from August 28 to 30, 2019 in Yokohama focused on the realisation of over $20 billion in private investments, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support for African-led initiatives.