The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) ended in Nairobi, Kenya yesterday, with a commitment by the participating countries to fight terrorism and violent extremism on the African continent.
More than 23 African heads of states and governments, including President John Dramani Mahama, as well as the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shizo Abe, attended the conference which was held on the African soil for the first time, at the request of the continent’s leaders to ensure African ownership.
The previous five conferences were held in Japan.
TICAD is an initiative by Japan to assist African countries in their efforts to develop. It was introduced by Japan after the end of the Cold War when the attention of the world players shifted to the newly emergent eastern European countries and Africa became marginalised.
In the Nairobi Declaration, the conference strongly condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever, noting that its spread undermined international peace and security, and endangered Africa’s efforts to strengthen regional and global security and economy, as well as to ensure sustainable growth and development.
The leaders, therefore, called for enhanced international cooperation in strengthening counter-terrorism capacity in Africa.
They also resolved to promote social stability by responding comprehensively to security concerns. In that regard, they emphasised the need to protect and empower individuals, especially the youth, women and persons with disabilities, families and their communities. That will be attained by improving access to education, technical and vocational training, job creation and opportunity, and promoting social cohesion.
The conference also resolved to support the enhancing of capacity of national and local government authorities, as well as international and African regional institutions for peace and stability on the continent. These include the capacity for surveillance and containment, cross-border security, co-ordinate border management and peacekeeping operations.
Touching on global issues and the challenges, it declared its commitment to address climate change, deforestation and desertification, poaching, loss of natural resources, food insecurity, water and energy deficit and natural disasters, as well as their impacts on migration and security.
The leaders took note of the negative impact of poverty, debt burden, unilateral and coercive measures on social stability, and stressed the critical importance of implementing the Paris Agreement for the attainment of sustainable growth.
They also reaffirmed their determination to urgently reform the United Nations bodies, including the Security Council, and said they would maintain the political momentum through enhance dialogue to find the best approach.
The conference showed support for empowering the youth, women and persons with disabilities, and affirmed that quality education and requisite skills for the youth and women could be a driving force for structural economic transformation and industrialisation.
From Jim Macauley, Nairobi, Kenya