The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), is set to be an important platform that bases on the advocacy of African’s Ownership and International community’s partnership.

TICAD7 aims to revolve around three big agenda items; The economic transformation and improvements in business environment and institution through private investment and innovation, the promotion of resilient and sustainable society for human security and the peace and stability.

With TICAD 7 just around the corner, set to kick off on 28th to 30th August this year in Yokohama, the embassy of Japan held a press tour visiting projects in Dar es Salaam, Moshi, and Arusha, that was set to convey the contents of the historical support Japan has to Tanzania.

The amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA), in the 10 years to 2017 is approximately $ 1.4 billion, making Tanzania the largest beneficiary country in Sub-Saharan Africa, revealed The tour introduced three main areas of cooperation beginning with the support for the agricultural sector, which is very important for the industrial sector drive for Tanzania, especially in this 5th phase government, construction of road infrastructure symbolized by Mfugale ‘Tazara’ Flyover, and the grassroots support to education sector in Tanzania.

History of friend ship between Japan and Tanzania Giving a brief history of these two countries, Ambassador Goto said that Japan maintains good diplomatic relations with Tanzania which was established since 1961 right after independence.

“Due to close ties between our countries, there have been many high official visits between the two countries. Just recent for example, while, Deputy Foreign Minister of Japan, Mr Masahisa Sato visited Tanzania in July 2018, former President Benjamin Mkapa visited Japan in August 2018 and in October of the same year, Dr Augustine Mahiga the former Minister of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation also visited Japan,” he noted.

It is worth to note that, the kindness and warmth of Tanzanian people is quite similar to that of the people of Japan, he said. “The vast arable and green land, beautiful nature such as Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro crater and the great Serengeti, and their wildlife attract countless Japanese people, and about 7,000 Japanese people visit Tanzania every year,” he pointed out.

“In this way, Japan, which has established a historical partnership with Tanzania, can be said to be a true friend of this beautiful part of the mother earth.”

TICAD (History and its concept) 

TICAD is a summit-level international conference purposely meant for African development, where in 1993, the first TICAD was held in Yokohama.

The aim of the conference was to bring the attention back to Africa while the interest of international community was decreasing after the end of Cold War.

It has been successful in engaging many different development stakeholders, and currently it is co-hosted by the United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank, the African Union Commission (AUC), and it provides a large-scale inclusive and open platform where other international organizations, donors, private companies, and civil society organizations participate.

In short, this is a significant place that a variety of stakeholders recognizes the importance of Africa and come up jointly with feasible solutions to the existing challenges. Another important characteristic of TICAD is on its emphasis on “African ownership” and “partnership with international community”; this was highlighted in TICAD II in 1998.

So far, for the past 25 years, there have been six TICADs. The first five TICADs, were held in Japan. However it was later decided that TICAD will be held both in Japan and Africa on rotational basis, based on the request from African countries.

As a result, in 2016, for the first time, TICADII was held TICAD7 set to promote Japan-Tanzania Friendship outside Japan, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The major achievement of TICAD II was the large diverse participation of more than 11,000 people including representatives from 53 African countries, development partner countries, international and regional organizations, private sector, and civil society organizations who came together to brainstorm solutions for challenges facing Africa.

Tanzania was well represented by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Kassim Majaliwa who attended and contributed to the important discussions.

Prime Minister of Japan Mr ShinzoAbe announced the investment for Africa’s future on human resource development for 10 million people and $30 billion public private assistance for three years from 2016 to 2018.

Discussion process of TICAD7, and the contribution from Tanzania TICAD Ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo in October last year with main discussion on development trend and challenges after TICAD II.

Total of 2,100 people participated including representatives from 52 African countries, development partner countries, international and regional institutions, civil society organizations and private sector.

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and East Africa Cooperation Dr Augustine Mahiga participated from Tanzania and contributed to the discussion.

Towards increasing investment from private sector through TICAD7

TICAD 7 focuses on promoting investment and improvement of business environment in Africa through People, Technology and Innovation.

Recently, Africa has experienced dynamic changes in economic and population growth. For instance, Africa has a huge population of 1.2 billion people, which is 17 percent of world population and is keeping its economic growth at an average of 5 percent each year from 2000 to 2018.

Furthermore, in 2050, Africa’s population is expected to be more than 2.2 billion with most of them being the young people. This will definitely have huge impact on the market consumption and the labor force.

In order to utilize the capital for the world development, money flow from the private sector will be important. As a result, efforts to improve the business environment will lead to more private investment and play an important role in African development.

From this perspective, in April the Japanese Policy Advisory Group ‘TICAD7 Public Private Round Table’ submitted the proposals document from the private sector to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The Japanese Government will use proposals for all-Japan efforts to enable strides for new dimension of business relations between Japan and Africa. Basing on the proposal, ‘The Africa Business Council’, which is a public-private platform for the promotion of trade and business relations between Japan and Africa, was established in June this year.

Being part of this, June this year the Government of Japan also decided on the ‘Africa Health and Wellbeing Initiative’.

The purpose is to promote necessary healthcare-related industries according to each African country’s situation through mutually beneficial cooperation.

For promoting the investment from Japanese private sector, the focus is not only on the efforts of investment by Japanese companies but also Africa’s self-effort for the improvement of the business environment will be taken into account.

As for Tanzania, a powerful guidance “Blue Print” is activated. Its steady implementation is really urgent.

TICAD 7 is a crucial opportunity that has attracted many private companies with interest in Africa. It is therefore expected that many Japanese companies will find opportunities to expand their businesses to Africa, particularly Tanzania.

Ambassador ended his remarks saying that “TICAD is an important meeting, which among others, directs the future relations between Japan and Tanzania. The Philosophy of “Ownership” and “Partnership” of TICAD means that Tanzania is more than just a recipient of economic aid from Japan, but an equal partner and a true friend.”

“I hope that TICAD7 will offer a good opportunity for more Tanzanians to understand Japan and further strengthen the friendship between the two countries. Japan is with Africa at all times, and will continue working hard hand-in-hand with Tanzanian friends to overcome the various challenges for the best of both countries.”