Ladies and Gentlemen,
The African Development Bank applauds the continued strong support of the Japanese government in Africa. We are particularly grateful for the remarkable leadership being provided by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, towards the sustainable development of the continent.
Africa can never forget Prime Minister Abe's landmark announcement in June 2013 that Japan would provide 32 billion dollars of support for Africa under TICAD V, with a special focus on increased aid and support for infrastructure.
And the African Development Bank was delighted by Prime Minister Abe's decision to double the amount of loans provided under the Enhanced Private Assistance for Africa (EPSA) program from 1 billion dollars to 2 billion dollars. I am pleased to inform you, Mr. Prime Minister, that EPSA II is well on track and the 2 billion dollars will be fully committed by the end of 2016. We look forward to EPSA III being renewed with an even greater level of support.
Following my assumption of office as President, we at the African Development Bank have decided to focus more sharply on five areas that will drive faster economic growth on the continent. Together with our partners, we will:
· Light up and power Africa.
· Feed Africa.
· Industrialize Africa.
· Integrate Africa.
· And improve quality of life for Africans.
I cannot think of anything that holds back Africa's development more than the perennial lack of energy on the continent.
The truth is that energy is the engine that powers economies. Without it, Africa cannot industrialize. Our factories lie idle for lack of power. The private sector is crippled, without the ability to operate effectively or competitively. Production remains stunted. Africa must power itself in order to power its industries.
Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. That is why the African Development Bank has launched a New Deal for Energy in Africa, to fast track universal access to power by 2025: lighting up and powering Africa in 10 years, not 50 years.
Growing the private sector will also be critical for Africa's future development. By boosting the private sector, we will drive industrialization and foster greater competitiveness of Africa in world markets.
In order for the giant in Africa to rise, we must integrate Africa. That means more integrated infrastructure - in particular ports, rail, and transnational highways. We must connect Africa to itself and Africa to the rest of the world.
As we look to tackle the challenges facing the continent, the Bank's focus is on co-development. We want to co-develop with Japan. That is why TICAD VI is critical.
TICAD, which started in Japan in 1993, now moves to Africa for the first time in history. TICAD has now finally come home to Africa where it belongs. The African Development Bank stands fully ready to work with you for the success of TICAD VI. Thank you.