Zimbabwe President Mugabe greets Japanese ambassador to the Southern African state as he boards a flight to Tokyo to participate in an international conference on Africa-Japanese relations. Zimbabwe maintains an official policy of "look east.", a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 00:00
Lovemore Chikova News Editor
President Mugabe left the country for Japan yesterday to attend the Fifth Tokyo International Conference for African Development to be held in Yokohama.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces is being accompanied by the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru will be the Acting President.
He was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice-President Cde Mujuru, Zanu-PF National Chairman Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, Defence Minister Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Japanese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Yonezo Fukuda, service chiefs and senior Government officials. TICAD was launched in 1993 to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
It emerged at the end of the Cold War in an era of aid fatigue among donor countries and was critical in regenerating strong donor interest in Africa.
TICAD has since evolved into a major global framework that facilitates the implementation of initiatives for promoting African development.
The initiative is jointly supported by Japan, the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.
Its stakeholders include all African countries and development partners, including Asian countries, donor nations, international agencies, civil society organisations, the private sector and parliaments.
During the first conference in 1993, African countries and their development partners discussed strategies for taking steps towards greater African stability and prosperity.
Delegations from 48 African nations participated at the conference.
During the second conference in 1998, the African countries and their development partners agreed on the Tokyo Agenda for Action which was intended to become a commonly understood strategic and action-oriented set of guidelines.
Poverty reduction in Africa and Africa’s fuller integration into the global economy were recognised as the fundamental goals.
The third TICAD conference was held in 2003 and brought together over 1 000 delegates, including 23 heads of state from Africa.
The African delegates and their development partners reviewed the achievements of the 10-year process.
The fourth conference was held in 2008 in Yokohama, the first time the conference was convened in a city other than Tokyo.
It was the best attended with 40 presidents or prime ministers attending out of the 51 African nations that sent delegates.
At least 12 Asian nations, 22 donor nations and 55 international organisations were represented at the fourth conference.
The conference focused on strategies for better mobilising the knowledge and resources of the international community in the core areas in economic growth and human security, including achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
It also discussed environment and climate change issues.
The fifth TICAD conference is expected to emphasise on accelerating growth, while focusing on poverty and vulnerability reduction.
It would discuss policy and regulatory reforms to improve investment climate in Africa.
The conference will stress the importance of the agricultural sector for the economy and food security and the need for strengthening food supply capacity by promoting partnerships as well as focusing on small-scale farmers and women.
Other issues to be discussed include how to achieve the MDGs and strengthening efforts on extreme poverty and maternal and child health.
The conference would continue to support further efforts of African countries to realise peace and stability as a basis of development.