The Nigerian Vice President said this in Japan on Saturday.
Nigeria on Saturday in Yokohama, Japan, called for increased trade ties between Japan and Africa to sustain economic development and growth on the African continent.
Vice President Namadi Sambo made the call at the ongoing Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V), a statement by the Vice President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Umar Sani, said.
Mr. Sambo noted that if Africa was to sustain her recent economic development, the expansion of trade within the continent and with the rest of the world, including Japan, was critical.
“While the value of total two-way trade between Japan and ASEAN countries was over $205 billion (about N31.98 trn) in 2012, trade between Japan and Africa was a paltry $29 billion (about N4.52 trn) in the same period.
“To enhance the level of trade between Africa and Japan, therefore, there is an urgent need to promote private sector interface between Japan and Africa under TICAD,” the statement quoted the Vice President as saying.
Mr. Sambo acknowledged the giant strides achieved under TICAD, since its inception in 1993, particularly in Nigeria in the areas of rural water supply, basic education, healthcare delivery, rural electrification and women empowerment.
“For us in Africa, this is a momentous period.
“Indeed, we salute the strides that we have made together under the auspices of the TICAD process and express deep appreciation to Japan for its support and steadfastness. We note with gratitude, the zeal of Japan to Africa’s cause and acknowledge that Japan has faithfully implemented the assistance it pledged to Africa under TICAD IV,” the vice president said.
Mr. Sambo further called on Japan, under TICAD V programme, to sustain her partnership with the African continent by addressing Africa’s infrastructure and employment deficit. He said this could be done through increased investment, repositioning of agriculture as a business enterprise, youth and women empowerment as well as human capital development.
He added that it could be achieved by engaging and interacting with Africa’ s private sector through purposeful trade missions to the continent.
“We believe that addressing the infrastructure gaps, including sustained private investment in infrastructural development will unleash the potentials for future growth of the continent and contribute to the mutual benefits of the TICAD aspirations.
“It is our hope that TICAD V would support Africa’s infrastructure needs through the establishment of mega power plants, high-speed rail transportation and private sector-led investments in the agriculture value chains on the basis of public-private partnership,” he said.
The vice president said skills acquisition and transfer of technology were essential avenues to create jobs for Africa’s teeming population and also fast-track the transition from informal to formal economic activities. He pledged the continued support and commitment of fellow African countries to the noble objectives and tenets of TICAD.
TICAD is celebrating 20 years of productive cooperation and partnership with Africa. It is aimed at promoting high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
TICAD V, with the theme “Hand-in-Hand with a More Dynamic Africa”, is holding from June 1 to 3, at Yokohama, Japan.