• Kyodo

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Japan will bring up problems in Africa at the July summit of the Group of Eight nations in Okinawa, a senior Foreign Ministry official said Thursday in Kuala Lumpur.

“We want to bring global attention to the problems of Africa,” Special Assistant to the Foreign Minister Shinsuke Horiuchi told reporters at the end of a three-day Asia-Africa forum in the Malaysian capital.

Horiuchi heads the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, a Japan initiative established in 1993 with the support of the U.N. Development Program and the Global Coalition for Africa to “keep the development agenda of Africa on the forefront by mustering support for it.”

Besides the G8 countries, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan would also be informed of the outcome of the forum.

The G8 countries are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

The third Asia-Africa Forum, attended by 10 Asian countries, 49 African countries and 11 international organizations, focused on agricultural and private-sector development through human resources development and information technology.

In the “Kuala Lumpur New Millennium Statement,” the forum acknowledged the difficulties faced by both regions in reducing poverty and integrating the African economies into the increasingly globalized world.

But both regions pledged to strengthen their partnership, and the meeting identified a group of Asian and African institutions to initiate “Asia-Africa Cooperation Networks.”

To increase productivity and transform Africa’s predominantly agrarian economies into industrializing economies, the two regions pledged to undertake collaborative research for the development of technological packages and cost-effective production systems to turn natural resources into value-added, employment-generating goods.

The Japanese government pledged Monday to give $2.8 million this year to the United Nations to assist the African continent in developing its human resources and information and communication technology.

Asian economic meet

A high-profile international symposium will take place in Fukuoka on July 7 to discuss the future of the Asian economy, organizers said Thursday.

The parley comes a day before a gathering of Group of Seven finance ministers.

It will assemble a number of dignitaries such as Eisuke Sakakibara, former Japanese vice finance minister for international affairs, and Laura Tyson, former chairwoman of the U.S. president’s Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council, they said.

Participants will also include Thai Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanahaeminda, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economy Kwik Kian Gie, South Korean Minister for Finance and Economy Lee Hun Jai and Asian Development Bank chief Tadao Chino.

Japanese Finance Minister Kiichi Miyazawa, who will chair the G7 finance ministers meeting on July 8, is expected to make a concluding statement at the symposium, the organizers said.

The symposium will be jointly sponsored by the Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy, a think tank affiliated with the Japanese Finance Ministry, the Fukuoka Finance Ministers’ Meeting Promotion Committee and the Fukuoka Committee of the Economic and Investment Forum for the ADB.

The G7 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. Foreign ministers from the G8, which comprises G7 nations plus Russia, are scheduled to gather in Miyazaki in southwestern Japan on July 12 and 13.

The G8 summit will be held in Okinawa from July 21 through 23.