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The fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development finished its three-day meeting in Yokohama on Monday. The TICAD, held every five years, was started in 1993 at the initiative of Japan as a forum for African leaders to discuss Africa’s economic development and the shape of assistance to the continent. Some 50 African leaders attended this year’s conference, as did Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Africa is rich in energy resources and rare metals needed for high-tech products. Many African countries have enjoyed strong economic growth in recent years and their middle classes are growing. But poverty and famine remain major problems on the continent.

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