African leaders attend TICAD conference

Nairobi

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila arrived in Nairobi on Friday ahead of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference for the Development of Africa (TICAD VI) that got underway in Nairobi to interrogate health and bilateral trade issues.

Kuugongelwa-Amathila is leading a team that included the Minister of National Planning, Tom Alweendo, and Dr Peya Mushelenga the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and New Era understands Namibia will address the request from Tokyo to consider removing import levies on second-hand Japanese vehicles.



To underscore the seriousness attached to TICAD VI, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe jetted into Nairobi with a planeload of senior executives from top Japanese multinational companies to explore and look at potential investments in Africa.

Top among the agenda are issues regarding industrialisation, technology transfer and other pertinent developmental matters.
On Friday President Uhuru Kenyatta as the host urged other Kenyans to welcome the thousands of delegates and heads of state, such as AU chair and the incumbent president of Chad Idriss Deby, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and others who are in the city for the high-stakes conference that could bolster trade between Tokyo and Africa.

Among the African presidents who were conspicuous by their absence was strongman Sudanese president Omer al-Bashir, who is said to have an outstanding international arrest warrant that was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Speaking at State House on Friday, Kenyatta said the TICAD process has over the years become an important focal point for African development.

“Since its inception, TICAD has been a key forum for informed discussion on African development between Africa and Japan as well as other parts of the world. It has matured into a first-class multi-lateral forum attracting leaders in business, government as well as civil society,” said the Kenyan president.

The Kenyan leader said part of the focus of the conference would be diversification, the preservation of the environment and the resilience of African health systems.

The Japanese prime minister Abe said the conference is historic since it is being held outside of Japan for the first time.
Abe said TICAD VI aims to provide solutions for Africa’s development challenges through the provision of quality technology.

Security was very tight at the iconic Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) in the centre of Nairobi where the conference is taking place with KICC teeming with alert armed security officers, while sniffer dogs are part of the elaborate security detail. The TICAD VI conference ends on Sunday with the delegates expected to take a common position on trade, health and on the issue of ebola that ravaged some parts of Africa, though it has now been largely contained after external intervention.

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