READ BY FOREIGN MINISTER OSMAN SALEH
Your Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On this auspicious occasion of the 7th Summit of TICAD, allow me to convey my sincere gratitude, on behalf of the Government of Eritrea, to the Government of Japan for its serious and relentless interest to foster robust partnership with Africa.
The profound changes that have occurred globally – especially in the Americas, Europe and Asia – in the past decades since the launching of TICAD have been colossal indeed. All endeavours exerted to build and crystallize – contrary to the logic of history – a uni-polar world order have not been successful. At the same time, the economic and developmental progress of various hegemonic powers have grown at different paces resulting in fundamental shifts in the global pecking order.
On the other hand, the spiraling upheavals that we see in several parts of our world today are the inevitable consequences and manifestations of the ongoing shift in global power balance. This phenomenon will require sober analysis and attention.
Where is the place of Africa against these backdrop of global changes?
Africa reportedly possess 60% of global resources and endowments. These massive endowments notwithstanding, Africa remains, by all standards, a backward and marginalized continent in comparison to others. The continent remains a symbol of pejorative labels: crisis, hunger, aid, exodus, diseases, suffering…etc.
In the immediate aftermath of colonialism, the Founding Fathers who spearheaded the struggle for the liberation and independence of the peoples of Africa had blazed an inspiring path. But their lofty aspirations and hopes have not been realized. The forces of domination and exploitation have employed all possible subterfuges to marginalize Africa and usurp its resources in the past sixty years. Still, the primary blame rests, first and foremost, on us Africans.
Africans need to solve their own problems themselves. External assistance and philanthropy, or convention of, and participation in, various international forums will not be a panacea to Africa’s problems; they will only exacerbate and entail further cost.
The people of Japan have literally risen from the ashes to proudly stand at the forefront of development in spite of a relatively small population that is less than 150 million and negligible natural resources. We can draw many lessons from Japan’s trajectory and history of development. The opportunity for fostering genuine partnership between Japan and Africa is also huge. Building a successful and sustainable partnership is however predicated on the existence of a congenial setting.
The good-will of Japan notwithstanding, TICAD does not possess promising prospects to continue and deliver meaningful results in its present configuration. In the event, it will be vital to chart out, at this juncture, a new road-map for a genuine and effective partnership by thoroughly appraising the global developments that have unfolded in the past quarter century and future trends.
I humbly urge that this cardinal issue is broached in the current Summit.
I thank you.
28 August 2019