TICAD VI—Cementing Japan-Africa business partnership

TICAD VI—Cementing Japan-Africa business partnership

[INTERVIEW]

H.E. Mr. S.K. Maina, MBS
Ambassador of of Kenya to Japan

Inter Media Japan sat down with H.E. Mr. S.K. Maina MBS, Ambassador of the Republic of Kenya to Japan, to discuss the upcoming TICAD VI and Kenya’s ongoing preparation to host the conference this coming August.


H.E. Mr. S.K. Maina, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to Japan.
H.E. Mr. S.K. Maina, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Kenya to Japan.

—This year, Kenya is hosting TICAD VI. What does it mean for your country?

Holding TICAD VI in Africa underscores the principle of Africa’s global partnership and ownership, which underpinned the formation of TICAD in 1993. Kenya, in particular, feels greatly honored to have been entrusted with the huge responsibility of hosting the very first TICAD Summit in Africa.

Kenya has been an avid supporter of the TICAD process since its inception in 1993, with a commitment to forging a stronger partnership between Africa and Japan.

Kenya has been an avid supporter of the TICAD process since its inception in 1993, with a commitment to forging a stronger partnership between Africa and Japan. Through the TICAD process, Kenya’s relations with Japan have moved beyond the confines of the Official Development Assistance (ODA), to more strategic partnerships in various areas of national development, such as economic infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, and environment.

Kenya’s hosting of the TICAD Summit underscores its strong commitment to deepening the enduring bilateral relations between the two countries, and to further solidify its position as the model example of cooperation with Japan for Sub-Saharan Africa. The event is positioned to exponentially spur greater bilateral relations between the two countries and form a deeper and broader level of strategic partnership.

—Why was Kenya elected to host TICAD VI?

The time was right to convene the forum in Africa in order to demonstrate the maturation of the TICAD process’s objectives to initiate ownership of African development initiatives by Africa and promotion of Africa’s global partnership.

View of Nairobi from the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya.
View of Nairobi from the Kenyatta International Conference Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

The decision to host the TICAD VI Summit in Africa was reached during the TICAD V Summit in 2013, when it was agreed that the venue of subsequent TICAD Summits be alternated between Japan and Africa. Consequently, after an extensive consultative process within the AU and other co-organizers, Kenya was endorsed as the host of this year’s summit. This was based on its capacity to successfully host large conferences, including its political will, qualified human capital, ample conference facilities, excellent transport and communication infrastructure, adequate accommodation facilities, and other logistical demands. In the past year alone, Kenya has successfully hosted large conferences including the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which was co-chaired by President Obama and President Kenyatta, the World Trade Ministerial Conference, and the hosting of Pope Francis. This year, in addition to TICAD VI Summit, Kenya will have hosted other global events, including the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) and the 14th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14).

—What are the main challenges that need to be addressed by the host country and organizers in order to successfully carry out the conference?

We are expecting about 6000 participants coming from Africa, Japan, co-organizers, UN agencies, international organizations, and top business executives, to attend the conference. Like any other country, hosting a summit of this magnitude requires meticulous, seamless coordination of logistics and organizational aptitude.

The summit is being organized in line with the previous TICAD summits, with the final program being compiled based on consultations with Japan and all other co-organizers.

The summit is being organized in line with the previous TICAD summits, with the final program being compiled based on consultations with Japan and all other co-organizers. As the host country, the government initiated a working preparatory mechanism that constitutes the National Steering Committee and the TICAD VI Secretariat, which has been working steadily to ensure the success of the TICAD VI Summit. As of now, most administrative and logistical issues, such as preparation of the conference venue, seminar halls, registration and accreditation, accommodation, and ground transport, have been decided. We expect to have frequent consultations with the co-organizers and the TICAD Ministerial Meeting in Gambia in June 2016 to wrap up the substantive part of the preparations pertaining to the meeting.

—What outcomes do you expect from this important event?

TICAD Summit meetings were initially held every 5 years, with each summit building on the thematic issues and programs of the previous one, to ensure continuity and sustainability of the TICAD process. Recently, the time frame has since been shortened to every 3 years. It is therefore expected that the forthcoming summit will evaluate the status of the implementation of the TICAD V Yokohama Action Plan, to identify the looming gaps, and build on the successes thereto.

TICAD VI is expected to evaluate the best way the TICAD process can be synchronized with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for a more strengthened and sustainable partnership between Africa and Japan.

TICAD VI is also expected to expand the dialogue on ways to address new areas and emerging threats, such as Ebola and violent extremism, that threaten to roll back gains made towards the continent’s economic security and sustainability. TICAD VI is expected to evaluate the best way the TICAD process can be synchronized with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 for a more strengthened and sustainable partnership between Africa and Japan. This will rope in the key thematic areas under discussion, including industrialization, social stability, and health. Finally, TICAD VI will cement the involvement of the private sector in Africa’s development, culminating in the formation of a Japan-Africa business partnership.


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