Since Japan launched the first Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in 1993, many African countries have seen remarkable economic growth, transforming themselves from aid recipients to attractive markets.

Given such changing circumstances, African participants hope to see discussion on Africa's economic stability and development take center stage during TICAD 7 that is set to be held in Yokohama between Aug. 28 and 30.

"I believe that this summit will be a turning point in the relationship between Japan and Africa as it represents an excellent opportunity for a smooth transition from a relation based mainly on official development assistance toward more diverse ties in trade and investment," Egyptian Ambassador to Japan Ayman Aly Kamel said during a recent interview with The Japan Times. Egypt is the chair of the African Union this year, and co-chair of TICAD 7.