(Nikkei: December 22, 2015 – p. 4)
It has been decided that the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), where the leaders of Japan and the African countries discuss economic development, will be held in Kenya in late August next year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to attend this meeting. The five previous TICAD meetings were held in Japan and this will be the first time for the conference to be held in Africa. Africa is rich in mineral resources and enjoys rapid economic growth. China and other countries are expanding their influence there. Japan is also undertaking economic cooperation to make its presence felt.
TICAD is an international conference initiated by Japan in 1993. The last meeting was held in Yokohama in 2013 with the participation of 51 African nations and the attendance of 39 leaders. The African states asked that future meetings be held in Japan and Africa alternately and that meetings be held every three years instead of every five years. The topics to be discussed in 2016 are likely to include terrorism and economic cooperation.
Africa is a region where the development of coal, natural gas, and other resources is accelerating on top of a growing population. The market is expected to expand rapidly, so many companies are advancing into this region. Cooperation with the African countries, which hold many votes in the United Nations, also holds the key to Japan’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council.
Abe’s attendance at the TICAD meeting will be his first visit to Africa since January 2014, when he visited Mozambique and Ethiopia. The government is considering arranging visits to South Africa, Nigeria, and other countries to coincide with the TICAD meeting next year.