Addis Ababa 04 January 2012 – AU Commissioner for trade and Industry Mrs Fatima Haram Acyl met with the Ambassador Extraordinary of the Republic of Japan to Ethiopia; Mr Hiroyuki Kishino today in her office today to exchange views on issues pertaining to Trade, Industry and Customs and on ways to work collaboratively for the economic development of Africa.
Both parties expressed appreciation for the very good relationship that exists between the AUC and Japan. Commissioner Acyl further thanked Japan for its continuous support to Africa within the framework of TICAD as well as through the World Trade Organisation on trade issues and through the World Customs Organisation on Customs issues.
Conscious of the challenges involved as compared to ASEAN, the Japanese Ambassador was particularly interested in the Department’s prospects on boosting intra-African trade and in the ambitious project of establishing a Continental Free Trade Area by the indicative date of 2017. He also highlighted the importance of adding value to Africa’s raw materials through the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA) and enquired about AU’s expectations from Japan in facilitating its implementation.
Commissioner Acyl emphasized the political will expressed by African leaders in dedicating the two Summits of 2012 to boosting intra-African trade and establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area, and by the creation of a High Level African Trade Committee composed of Heads of State and Government to champion the implementation of decisions taken in those areas. She then shared with the Ambassador the activities being carried out by the Department in pursuing that mandate, especially the formulation of an Implementation Strategy for concrete action at national, regional and continental levels. She also briefed the Ambassador on the resource mobilization strategy envisaged by the Department for the implementation of AIDA, including the sustainability of the Investment Monitoring Platform, a very useful web-based tool for potential investors in Africa, the pilot project of which has been funded by the European Union.
Both parties then discussed preparations for TICAD V which include elements directly related to trade such as trade facilitation and others that are cross-cutting with trade. Japan encouraged the AUC to play a role of policy leadership and to use the opportunity of the TICAD Forum to advocate with Member States on continental issues. Both parties agreed to meet again to discuss concrete projects.