Botswana will join other African countries at the six Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to be held in Kenya on 27-28 August. Botswana Investment and Trade Centre chief executive officer Letsebe Sejoe confirmed this in an interview with Botswana Guardian.
TICAD was launched by the Japanese government in 1993. All previous five conferences were held in Japan aimed at planning means to offer infrastructure development based on superlative quality that taps into the country's technology. The conference is planned to feature high-level policy dialogue between Japan and African leaders which will cover issues of economic development and investment, as well as those of trade and sustainable development.
The gathering will also identify common priorities for accelerating sustainable development, including the growing role of the private sector in driving progress on the continent. According to Sejoe, minister of Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse will lead the Botswana delegation, which includes among others, a number of representatives from BITC, representatives from other ministries and Business Botswana – the former Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower.
He said that by coming to Africa, TICAD is showing that the Japanese government wants to play a major role in African economies. Sejoe stated that Botswana and Japan have longstanding relations, explaining that they have engaged a business delegation to come to Botswana. He said attendance will also affirm openness of Botswana to foreign investors. “Our dialogue with Japanese is an ongoing process,” he said.
The event is co-organised by the Government of Japan, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the Africa Union Commission and the UN Office of the Special Advisor on Africa. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to attend the conference. A sizeable Japanese business delegation will be in attendance with the aim of boosting corporate investment in infrastructural projects in Africa.
More than 6,000 participants are expected at the Nairobi conference to discuss implementation of the recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063 that is focused on a peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent; economic growth, trade and investment; human security, peace and stability. The Nairobi summit kicks off a new arrangement where the high-level meeting will alternate between an African country and Japan every three years.
“One of the core concepts of the TICAD process is ownership of the ideas by African countries,” said deputy chief of mission, Embassy of Japan in Kenya Mikio Mori in a press statement. “Over the years, this ownership has seen us develop great policies. We envision even better outcomes this year,” he added.
At the conclusion of the two-day conference, a declaration on the region's ongoing potential for economic growth and issues of counter-terrorism will be signed. Japan previously pledged $32 billion over five years for infrastructural and human resource development, with the funds available on the principle of ‘Africa ownership’ and international partnership.
Japan has also given some $3.5 billion in official development assistance, which is equivalent to about 25 percent of the $14 billion pledged at similar conference held in Yokohama three years ago.