The sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) under the theme “Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda — TICAD Partnership for Prosperity” will be held in Nairobi on Aug. 27 and 28. African heads of state and government, as well as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the summit. In total, about 6,000 participants from Africa, Japan, summit organizers U.N. agencies, international organizations, as well as top business executives are expected to attend.

The TICAD VI agenda and program will focus on the following three areas agreed upon by the organizers. These areas are economic transformation through diversification and industrialization; promoting resilient health systems for quality of life; and promoting social stability for shared prosperity. The summit will also include approximately 60 side events in the form of seminars and symposiums on summit-related topics, exhibitions, a Japan-Africa Business forum that will host business seminars, a Japan expo, an African Pavilion and high-level dialogue between the heads of state and governments and the private sector.

Kenya, like all African countries, is enthusiastic and welcomes the fact that for the first time TICAD will be held in Africa. Hosting TICAD VI in Africa is indeed a milestone achievement that reaffirms the dual principle of Africa’s global partnership and ownership that underpinned the formation of TICAD in 1993.

The initiative gives the continent’s ordinary citizens the opportunity to realize the sense of ownership of the TICAD process and appreciate its significance in contributing to Africa’s growth and development.

Most significantly, holding this important event in Africa is a clear recognition that Africa has come of age for mutually profitable partnerships with Japan and the rest of the world. This is attested by a confluence of factors that have seen Africa transforming from a discredited continent to the new frontier of global trade and investment.

Indeed, today Africa is one of the continents where economic growth is remarkable, with immense investment potential and various reinforcing factors to kickoff industrialization. Several countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania have managed to grow at 5 percent or more in each of the past three years.

It is important to note that some of the witnessed developments are as a result of the TICAD process, which has been critical in reshaping international discourse around the African development agenda. Being the vehicle of Japanese engagement with Africa, TICAD has since seen Japan-Africa relations steadily grow from a donor-recipient partnership to a more dynamic relationship focused on increased trade and investment, as the engine of sustainable economic growth in Africa. The process has shown great impact in African development particularly in the areas of infrastructure, logistics, agriculture, human resource development, health and poverty reduction programs on the continent.

Building on the strengths of the private sector as a key player in economic transformation, TICAD VI will be a turning point in the sense that it will be the first summit in TICAD’s history to have a unique interactive session between the private sector and heads of state and government. This is a paradigm shift geared toward moving from official development assistance-oriented programs to private sector centered policies for increased trade and investment. The development is envisaged to strengthen a mutually beneficial business partnership between Japan and Africa and other global development partners.

With regard to the timeframe, TICAD VI will be convening three years after TICAD V. The timing gives stakeholders an excellent opportunity to evaluate the status of implementation of the TICAD V Yokohama Action Plan, build on its success and address any setbacks thereof. This will also be a momentous time to expand the TICAD dialogue on how best to address emerging threats bent to roll back gains made toward the continent’s economic security and sustainability. These include Ebola, violent extremism and social instability.

The summit also comes in quick succession of the launch of Africa Agenda 2063 framework, “The Africa We Want,” which is in line with the summit’s theme. The forum will therefore avail a platform to discuss how best the TICAD process can be synchronized with Agenda 2063 for a more strengthened and dynamic partnership between Africa and Japan.

In the end, we expect all the undertakings of the summit to culminate in the Nairobi Declaration, which is envisaged to commit all the stakeholders to specific deliverables that will ensure continued progress based on TICAD’s established strengths.

Kenya is greatly honored to have been entrusted and bestowed with the huge responsibility to host this very first TICAD summit in Africa. Indeed, Nairobi’s hosting of TICAD VI affirms Kenya’s steadfast commitment to the TICAD process of forging a stronger partnership between Africa and Japan. The honor also underscores Kenya’s strong resolve to deepen its enduring bilateral relations with Japan and further solidify its position as the model of cooperation with Tokyo for sub-Saharan Africa.

We hope that delegates will also take some time off before and after the summit to sample and enjoy the bountiful and magnificent tourist attractions both in Nairobi and other parts of the country.

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