President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Sunday for Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) holding in the City of Yokohama from Aug. 28 to Aug. 30.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Friday, said President Buhari’s participation would be his second, having attended TICAD6 in Nairobi, Kenya, in Aug. 2016.
“With the theme, “Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future,” the Opening Session of TICAD7 will be performed by the Japanese Prime Minister and host, Shinzo Abe,’’ Adesina said.
The presidential aide revealed that Buhari would deliver Nigeria’s statement during Plenary Session three in which he will appraise Nigeria-Japan relations and takeaways from TICAD6.
He said the president would attend a State Banquet and also honour the invitation of Emperor Naruhito to a Tea Reception at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo.
“In addition to a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Nigerian President will also attend some side-events and meet chief executive officers of some Japanese companies with huge investments in Nigeria,’’ he added.
Formed in 1993, the now triennial TICAD, which has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since TICAD6, according to the organisers, is the largest international conference held in Japan which “provides an open forum that generates innovative discussion among various stakeholders on African development.”
Participants are drawn not only from African countries, but also international organisations, private companies and civil society organisations involved in development.
TCAD7 is expected to focus on Africa’s “economic transformation and improvements in business environment and institution through private investment and innovation; promotion of resilient and sustainable African society for human security; and peace and stability in support of Africa’s domestic proactive efforts.”
Nigeria has gained tremendously since her participation in TICAD6 at the highest level, during which Japan pledged 30 billion dollars investment “for the future of Africa combined with the private sector;” 10 billion dollars infrastructure investment, and 500 million dollars for vocational training of 50,000 Africans.
Since the Nairobi Conference, Japanese government and companies have been very active in supporting Nigeria’s agriculture, healthcare, electricity and youth empowerment.
The president and his delegation are expected in Yokohama to push for broader Japanese assistance in the areas of science and technology, innovation, human resource development, education, agriculture, power, health and disaster risk reduction, among others.
Buhari will be accompanied by governors Babagana Zulum, AbdulRaham AbdulRazaq and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Borno, Kwara and Lagos States, some ministers and other top government officials.
The president is expected back in Nigeria on Aug. 31.