The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7)

closed today in Yokohama, Japan. The Conference, held between 28 to 30 August and

co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Government

of Japan, the African Union Commission (AUC), the World Bank, and the United

Nations, took place under the theme of “Advancing Africa’s development through

people, technology and innovation.” UNDP was represented with a strong delegation

led by Achim Steiner, Administrator and Ahunna Eziakonwa, Regional Director for

Africa.

The private sector plays a critical role in the development of Africa and in realizing

the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said Steiner. “We need business, society

and government - all hands-on deck to make the social and economic transformation

required for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP is committed

to support countries in mobilizing the huge potential of the private sector to invest

in SDGs-enabling activities, especially in Africa, which is at the heart of our development

work.”

During TICAD7, Steiner engaged in various dialogues with African and Japanese

thought leaders of the public and private sectors, international organizations, and

civil society. He emphasized the importance of economic transformation through innovation

and business, sustainable and resilient society, and peace and stability, in

line with the conference theme.

TICAD7 focused on business-based innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable

economic and social transformation in Africa. In developing countries, the private

sector constitutes 60 percent of GDPs, 90 percent of jobs and 80 percent of capital

flows. The continent also boasts abundant natural resources and a growing population,

having seen six out of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. Despite

progress made on the SDGs, there is a huge funding gap, as it is estimated that Africa

needs between 600 billion and 1.2 trillion US dollars per year to implement the SDGs.

In the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 endorsed at the end of the three-day discussions,

UNDP committed to further reinforce human capital development, especially

for youth and women, as well as provide support to entrepreneurs to realize economic

and social transformation. Steiner stressed the need to harness digital technologies

to allow for better access to information and finance so that even those

furthest behind can benefit from technological innovations for shared prosperity.

As a concrete measure, UNDP has launched a network of 60 Accelerator Labs serving

78 countries, out of which 36 are in Africa. The labs will be used to test and scale–up

new solutions to tackle complex challenges, learn from each other and make faster

progress on the SDGs. As an integrator, UNDP is committed to connecting

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