President Levy Mwanawasa has expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the just ended fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 1V) in the Japanese coastal town of Yokohama.
Dr Mwanawasa said TICAD 1V adopted the Yokohama Declaration which summarises the outcome of the TICAD process over the last 15 years and reiterates the commitment of Japan and other international cooperating partners to African countries.
He added that the conference confirmed the commitment by Japan to put the outcomes of TICAD 1V into the forth coming G8 summit to be held in July this year in Japan.
President Mwanawasa said this in a wrap up statement to ZANIS in Yokohama today, shortly before his departure to China where he has been invited for a one week private visit by his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao.
He explained that TICAD 1V also introduced an action plan that outlines measures to be taken under the TICAD process over the next five years and a follow up mechanism to monitor the implementation and access the impact of TICAD.
Dr. Mwanawasa has since commended all Africa Ambassadors based in Japan for ensuring that the action plan was formulated, saying the development is good as it will entail the establishment of a secretariat that will follow up on what has been agreed upon.
The President further said TICAD 1V reaffirmed the contributions of the TICAD process to African development over the past 15 years and noted its significant role in mobilising the interest and commitment of the international community to African development.
And President Mwanawasa has said Zambia stands to benefit a lot from the participation at the TICAD 1V and the visit to Japan.
He said Zambia is expected to have an increase in bilateral cooperation with Japan, increased interest in Zambian products from Japanese importers and a boost in investment from Japan as well as Asia into the key areas of mining, tourism and agriculture.
Dr Mwanawasa further said Zambia expects to have an improvement in value addition for Zambian products and an increase in Zambian exports to Japan and Asia.
President Mwanawasa also disclosed to the Zambian journalists that he held bilateral talks and exchanged views with Japanese Prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, Tanzania President, Jakaya Kikwete, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and former Japanese Prime minister Yoshiro Mori.
He told the journalists that the Zambian cabinet ministers in the Presidential delegation also held meetings with representatives of the Japanese business community and officials from Japanese government agencies.
He said the ministers held meetings with the Japanese External Trade Organisation, (JETRO), the Japan Oil Gas and Metals National Corporation, Toyota Tsusho and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Aids Fund.
The President explained that the ministers also discussed the development of oil in Zambia.
Dr. Mwanawasa however expressed worry that the exploration works on the mines in Zambia were taking long.
“They are moving too slow, we want the resources to be explored and we must know when we are going to explore this oil, at least before I live office I should see the results,” he said.
Other side events at the TICAD IV included the Zambia Business Seminar held in Tokyo under the theme ‘Focus on Mining, Energy Resources and Tourism’.
The event which was co-sponsored by JETRO, JOGMEG and the Zambian embassy in Japan attracted more than 100 participants from the Japanese business houses.
Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa says most African countries who participated at the just ended TICAD IV welcomed Japan’s offer to double development assistance to Africa and acknowledged the contribution of the TICAD process to African development over the past 15 year.
He added that the African participants also welcomed the addition of an action plan and follow up mechanism to the TICAD process.
He further explained that African countries also welcomed the intention by the Japanese government to take advantage of its position as Chair of the G8 to reflect the outcome of TICAD IV at the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit scheduled for July, this year.
The Fourth Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development, (TICAD IV), which was held in Yokohama, Japan from May 28 to 30, attracted 52 Heads of State and ministers, 74 international and regional organisations, 34 partner countries, members of the G8 and Asian countries and representatives from the private sector and civil society organisations.
TICAD IV, which was held under the theme ‘Towards a Vibrant Africa: Continent of Hope and Opportunity’ aimed at mobilising knowledge and resources from the international community in the areas of boosting economic growth, ensuring human security and addressing environmental issues such as climate change.