THE 2019 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), a platform Zimbabwe will use to court Japanese investors, will kick-off on Wednesday in Yokohama, Japan.
President Mnangagwa is expected to leave the country today to attend the crucial conference that will be graced by almost all African leaders. One of the highlights of the conference for Zimbabwe will be the meeting between President Mnangagwa and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, a major engagement set to unlock mutually beneficial opportunities between Harare and Tokyo.
Of interest is the fact that Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the United States and China, and is also a member of the Group of Seven (G7) nations, from which Zimbabwe is seeking a financial package to clear arrears owed to international finance institutions.
The conference is being co-organised by Japan, the United Nations, the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union Commission.
It runs from August 28 to 30, under the theme, “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation”.
The conference seeks to enhance trade and investment between Africa and Japan, allowing the voices of the private sector to be heard by national leaders.
This dovetails with the Second Republic’s drive to promote private sector participation in economic development, with Government only playing the role of creating a conducive environment for business to thrive.
An array of official side events such as Japan-Africa Business Forum and Expo; Africa/Japan Start-up Pitch, will run concurrently with TICAD 7.
Documents availed to our sister paper, The Herald, by the Japanese embassy in Harare show topics to be discussed focusing on economic transformation and improvements in the business environment and institutions through private investment and innovation.
TICAD7 is also expected to promote resilient and sustainable society for human security; and peace and stability. “The conference is the overall process of summit-level international conferences, related ministerial and other meetings on Africa’s development initiated by Japan in 1993,” the documents read. “Through TICAD7, Japan aims to; lead international discussions on African development, aiming to materialise the outcomes of major international conferences, including WAW! G20 and G7 this year (and) focus on business and investment as the centre of TICAD, further pushing forward African development through quality infrastructure and human resource development.”
The documents indicated that TICAD7 will provide an open and international forum where everyone can freely discuss and collaborate for African development.
The conference was held every five years until TICAD V in 2013, and every three years since 2016.
In 2016, 53 African countries attended the conference held in Kenya, which also attracted more than 11 000 participants.