Japan, Africa summit opens business window – Business Daily
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a press conference on August 10. PHOTO | AFP
On August 27-28, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and African leaders will gather in Tunisia for the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VIII) to discuss the most pressing issues facing the continent.
As you may know, Kenya has a special link with TICAD. In 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta and then Prime Minister Abe Shinzo co-chaired TICAD VI in Nairobi.
Taking this occasion, I would like to convey my deep appreciation to President Kenyatta and the Kenyan people for the expression of condolences and sympathy following the late Prime Minister’s sudden demise on July 8.
At TICAD VI, Prime Minister Abe announced the “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” (FOIP) to promote freedom and order in the seas. After the historic meeting, Kenya, embracing this vision, held the first Sustainable Blue Economy Conference together with Japan in 2018.
At the bilateral level, Japan provided the Kenya Coast Guard Service with 17 patrol boats and has supported the Mombasa port development. The upcoming meeting will promote FOIP further.
The 2016 conference was significant not only as the first meeting on African soil but also since the private sector was involved as a full-fledged partner. It led to the launch of the Japan-Kenya Business Dialogue at TICAD 7 and the establishment of the Japan Desk at KenInvest.
As a result of such efforts, Japanese companies operating in Kenya have more than doubled in the last five years to over 100 in 2021. TICAD VIII further reinforce Japanese business and investment in Africa.
People-centred development and human security are among the main principles of TICAD. Over the years, Japan’s cooperation for human resource development has increased both in numbers and in scope.
Notably, Japan’s cooperation with Kenya has enabled the country to receive trainees from other African countries on forestry, medical research, and STEM, reflecting TICAD’s basic principle of “ownership”. TICAD VIII is expected to further break new ground on “investment in people”.
In response to discussions at TICAD, Japan’s past cooperation has helped African countries deal with challenges such as infectious disease, energy security, food security and combatting climate change.
In Kenya, Japan’s many years of cooperation on health has contributed to an effective response to Covid-19. Japan’s support to geothermal power generation and efficient electricity transmission contributed to energy security and Net Zero.
Looking to the future, Toyota Tsusho is conducting a study with funding of the Japanese Government on Green Hydrogen in Kenya.
On food security, Japan has already extended emergency food assistance amounting to $5.5 million in 2022 through World Food Programme. Meanwhile, our many years of cooperation on rice cultivation and irrigation has enhanced Kenya’s ability to feed itself over the longer term.
Since 1993 when Japan initiated this forum when no other donor country hosted such a meeting, TICAD has continued for nearly 30 years.
The eighth meeting is another important occasion to make Africa more resilient and self-reliant by combining Japanese know-how/technology and funding with African ingenuity in the quest for quality growth.