We need strains adapted to environments lacking water, adapted to the consequences of global warming. Investments are also needed for more widespread access to agricultural techniques and training. Men and women are key to the outcome. Massive investments are needed but they are accessible and feasible. We know that Africa can pull out of poverty with 25 billion dollars of investments. 25 billion is 20 times less than the plan the United States voted to extricate their banking system out of crisis! This is possible!
To accomplish this, we need determination and imagination; most especially to find modes of perennial financing. This is what I was aiming for when I proposed a tax on air tickets to create Drug Purchase Facility. Rich countries must continue to help.
While China is reinforcing its world presence, the Japanese people are concerned with the fact that France is more interested in the other important Asian nations. In this new context, what is Japan’s place for France?
From a multi-polarity point of view, what is happening today is highly interesting. For the first time in centuries, powers are leveling out with the emergence of global powers that are not part of the West. 22% of the world’s population lives in China. It has become a major figure in the management of world affairs, be they the financial crisis, the challenge of global warming and sustainable development, the crisis of raw materials, energy, in sum all the major challenges of the beginning of this 21st century. Nothing will be solved without China’s cooperation.
For once though, the Japanese people are wrong! I say this with the utmost respect and friendship but they are wrong! If we look only at investments, France is Japan’s third largest investor. Third largest. This would seem to be proof of a high level of interest. The 150th anniversary of our relations being celebrated right this very moment demonstrates the diversity of our relations. And there is France’s youth who are fascinated by your country. Japan must realize its urban culture possesses an extraordinary potential. Many trends come from Japan in fashion, design, cuisine, lifestyle. These are very emblematic fields that create the image of a country. The French admire Japan.
What are the current activities of the Fondation Chirac, launched last June? Could you give us some examples?
For its first missions, I wanted the Fondation Chirac to concentrate on four main subjects: access to quality medicines, access to safe water, fighting against deforestation and desertification, and the fight for languages threatened with extinction. The hardest hit victims are always the same, the most fragile populations. No peaceful, world society can be created on such injustices. Today, 30% of all medication bought in Africa is counterfeit or under-dosed. This is scandalous and a disgrace! We cannot sit here doing nothing! We must develop networks to share experiences, exchange information on methods with proven results, not only in terms of health but in all domains of development. I hope the Fondation Chirac will be able to create partnerships with Japanese institutions and companies, who are often already very advanced on these matters.
Interview by Yuji NOMIYAMA, Nikkei