Representatives of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and United Nations agencies are meeting today and tomorrow in Paris for a public forum and a television programme examining the potential for expanding trade and investment between Asia and Africa.
"The timing of this multi-faceted event is highly significant: it is being held in the aftermath of the 2005 World Summit during which world leaders agreed to take action on a range of global challenges, including trade liberalization, and prior to the forthcoming high-profile World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong," the Director of the TICAD/UN Development Programme Africa Bureau, Bouna Sémou Diouf.
The two-day public forum, organized by the TICAD/UNDP Africa Bureau and the Club Millennium, a Paris-based think-tank on African development, will examine trade, investment and cooperation between Asia and Africa and discuss ways of sensitizing the African public about the TICAD Initiative.
According to the World Bank, a TICAD co-organizer, African exports to Asia are still small but have grown significantly in the past 12 years. Of the continent's total export earnings, estimated at an average of $134 billion per year from 2001 to 2003, 15 per cent came from sales to Asia and the rate of increase, about 10 per cent per year, has been higher than the comparable rates for trade with the European Union (EU) or the United States.
In addition to senior officials of the TICAD/UNDP Africa Bureau, speakers will include Anicet Dologuele, President of the Banque de Développement des États de l'Afrique Centrale; Marie Gosset, Ambassador of Côte d'Ivoire to the Kingdom of Belgium and accredited to ACP and EU; Hiroshi Hirabayashi, Ambassador of Japan to France; Maggie Kigozi, Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority; Elson Ng K, President & CEO of the Singapore-based GMG Global Ltd. and Alizetta Ouédraogo, Chair and CEO of Tanz Aliz in Burkina Faso.