A trade fair featuring specialty products from 39 African nations opened Saturday in Tokyo’s Odaiba waterfront district for a three-day run, with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi marking the event’s start by encouraging African countries to achieve economic growth through trade.

The government organized the fair as part of the “one village, one product” campaign from February to September aimed at helping developing countries market their goods abroad and expand their trade.

The fair showcases such items as coffee, tea, spices, textiles, cosmetics, flowers, musical instruments and folk crafts. There will be a fashion show and business seminar as well as music and dance performances.

“Foreign aid is of course important for developing countries, but the most important thing is that they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” Koizumi said at the opening ceremony. “We Japanese have also climbed up by ourselves after defeat in the war and hope to contribute to economic growth and nation-building efforts of African countries.”

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