Shigeru Ushio, Director-general for African Affairs department and assistant minister in Japan's Foreign Affairs during a limited press conference held with the attendance of number of the African media representatives, July 2019-Egypt Today/Aya Samir Shigeru Ushio, Director-general for African Affairs department and assistant minister in Japan's Foreign Affairs during a limited press conference held with the attendance of number of the African media representatives, July 2019-Egypt Today/Aya Samir

We appreciate Egypt's leadership for AU: Japan’s MOFA

Mon, Jul. 8, 2019
Tokyo - 8 July 2019: Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed appreciation of Egypt's leadership for the African Union. Shigeru Ushio, director-general for African Affairs department and assistant minister in Japan's Foreign Affairs described Egypt's role as “wonderful”.

"We strongly appreciate Egypt's leadership for the African union. We think their leadership is wonderful and we greatly appreciate their support," Ushio said

When asked about the discussions held between Egypt and Japan's government ahead of 2019's Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), set to be held on August 28 in Yokohoma city, he affirmed that both parties held a number of senior officials’ meetings during the past time.

He added that Japan has huge commitments with Egypt. "The Egyptian government always sends high level seniors to Japan to follow up on updates of our agreements and discussions and we respect their views and leadership," Ushio added.

He pointed out during a limited press conference held in the attendance of the African media representatives that Egypt and Japan held a lot of discussions, especially regarding human development aspects where Japan has a number of successful experiences in cooperation with other countries.

"We believe development is the key to do anything, as we have done this with many countries, especially in Asia, and believe that the time has come to do it with Africa now," Ushio stated

He said that TICAD was first held in 1993, and since then, Africa has achieved so many goals. For the meantime, Ushio explained that Japan considers Africa "partners in growing".

He added that "Many African countries have achieved great success on the economic and society levels; however, other are still facing specific problems, we will support them."

During TICAD7, Japan's government has advised private companies to focus more on Africa, and the potential in the African countries as partners, especially in the information and innovation sector.

"We talked with our business partners, and have sat this concept amid them," Ushio said.

The main pillars set to be tackled during TICAD7 according to the Japanese high rank official are: business, society, health, disaster prevention and preserving peace in Africa.

"In business, we are going to discuss both of the private and public sectors. And on the social level, our discussions will be more focused on human development. We aim at helping the African countries to be independent, and we already have seen some countries which have improved, while others are still struggling. We aim to help them," Ushio stressed.

How African, Japanese relations evolved since TICAD 1993

CAIRO - 26 June 2019: During the Cold war, most of the powerful countries were interested to invest in Africa to increase their influence and enhance their authority in the region which was an indirect war area same as the whole world back then.




Over 50 participants took part at TICAD6 which was held on August 28, 2016 in Kenya. This year, the number of participants will exceed this figure, according to Ushio. Also, a number of the side events are scheduled to be held during the conference, including the African-Japanese expo, and a number of seminars and symposiums.

"As a side event, we will be organizing the African-Japanese expo, where African star- ups will be introduced to Japanese companies," Ushio explained. He also added that up to 250 experts will be attending different seminars and symposiums.

"When you look on Africa's problems, it is mostly related to agriculture and poverty. We think that without agriculture, the countries' business will never grow, and so we aim at helping them," he reiterated.

Ushio also affirmed that the public sector is one of the main aspects that TICAD7 will be shedding light on during its meetings and events.

TICAD was held for the first time in Tokyo on October 5 and 6, 1993, aiming to enhance dialogue between African- Japanese leaders; promote Africa’s development, peace and security; strengthen relations between the countries; and establish strong partnerships between Tokyo and Africa.

The international conference, which has been held regularly since then, is not just led by Japan, despite being a Japanese initiative.

Co-sponsored by the United Nations, TICAD is also organized by several international partners alongside the Japanese government. The partners include: the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Bank.

TICAD 1 was just the beginning that opened the door for more Japanese investments and cooperation between the two sides. The first conference resulted in “Tokyo Declaration on African Development”, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The 48 African nations participating in the conference agreed on the declaration that included goals on developing these countries, and supporting the private sector, as well as international and regional cooperation.

Other TICADs followed and continued to be held inside Japan, until it was held for the first time in Africa in 2016.

Could developing agriculture in Egypt's Delta be part of TICAD's agenda?

TOKYO - 5 July 2019: With a tendency to start conducting research on Egypt's Delta and contribute to preserving food security and raising its quality, Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRACAS) explained that several challenges have prevented it from expanding its research in Africa, including the limited budget allocated for research and lack of Human Resources.




TICAD 6, which was held at Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya on August 27-28, 2016, adopted the theme “Advancing Africa’s Sustainable Development Agenda”. This conference focused on three new aspects defined as new emerging challenges facing Africa, namely “Promoting structural economic transformation through economic diversification and industrialization, promoting resilient health system for quality of life, and promoting social stability for shared prosperity.”

This Year Egypt will be participating in TICAD7 as the leader of the African Union.

In February 2019, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi headed to Addis Ababa where he received the presidency of the UN from his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame at the inauguration of the 32nd summit of the AU.

With Egypt’s presidency of the AU, several key challenges were announced to be addressed, including enhancing investments in various sectors in the continent, discussing the peace and security issue and working on developing the AU capabilities to meet the African people's demands.
 
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