The Japanese government will hold the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 2019. The plan will be approved by the cabinet as early as June 16. It will be the third time for the major port city to host the Japan-led African development conference following the 4th meeting in 2008 and the 5th gathering in 2013.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi attended the 6th TICAD held in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in August 2016. There she unveiled a plan to host the 7th TICAD gathering in Yokohama, citing that the city has hosted the event twice in the past and engaged in constant exchanges with African nations. “Yokohama is the Japanese city closest to Africa,” she said.
There was also growing momentum among Yokohama citizens to lure the conference. The Yokohama city council members’ league for Japan-Africa friendship conducted a campaign to invite TICAD. Also, a council for promoting an invitation to TICAD was jointly established by a non-partisan league of voluntary Diet members from Kanagawa, the municipal and regional assemblies, and business groups.
The city resolved various infrastructure, environmental, and other problems related to the surge in its population. Taking advantage of these experiences, it is actively helping African nations in various areas, such as waste disposal, improvement of water systems, and support for women.
Ever since Yokohama first hosted TICAD the city has conducted a One School One Country project in which students at elementary and junior high schools in Yokohama study an African country. It also continues to hold African business seminars. These efforts are believed to have contributed to the government’s decision to let the city host the 7th TICAD.