NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe say they are keen to see bilateral trade and cooperation between Kenya and Japan propelled to higher heights through their collaboration.
The two who spoke during a joint news conference at State House Nairobi on Friday said they are particularly keen to partner in the area of technology innovation for development.
President Kenyatta says Africa presents a wealth of the opportunity for investment and says Kenya is keen to grow its partnership with Japan in the areas of Education, Health and Agriculture.
“We know that most nations that skip the grip of poverty do so by industrialising. Africa still has not lived up to its potential. We need to put our heads together to see how we can hasten the industrialization of the continent and how we can avoid the missteps of those who have previously walked this path,” President Kenyatta stated.
Prime Minister Abe says Japan is keen to grow it development partnership with Africa and help it overcome the challenges it faces on the road to industrialisation.
The Japanese PM said the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was historic since it is being held outside of Japan for the first time.
“Japan will hand-in-hand with Africa realise the African dream designed by the people of Africa themselves, strongly promoting and pushing forward this is exactly what TICAD is all about,” PM Abe said.
He announced that Japan is committed to investing in innovation, energy and infrastructure in Africa as the sixth TICAD summit activities started in earnest.
It is the first time the conference which usually attracts over 6,000 participants taking place for the first time on the African continent this weekend.
The last time a Japanese Prime Minister was in the country was 15 years ago when Abe’s predecessor visited the country.
President Kenyatta welcomed the Japanese Prime Minister to State House, Nairobi, with an elaborate state reception rounded off by a 19-gun salute in a ceremony traditional reserved for Heads of State and Government.
PM Abe said TICAD aims to provide solutions for Africa’s development challenges through the provision of quality technology.
He concurred with President Kenyatta that industrialisation is crucial for Africa’s economic growth.
President Kenyatta said he hopes the Nairobi Declaration, which will be issued at the end of TICAD VI, will specifically commit participating leaders to the important developmental agendas such as economic growth, industrialization, resilient health systems, social stability and shared prosperity.
The meeting which officially opens on Saturday brings to Nairobi at least 35 African Heads of State and most of the world’s biggest development agencies.
Some of the Heads of State have started arriving in the country. The President of Chad who is also the chairman of the African Union Idriss Deby is expected in the country later today.
TICAD was incepted in 1993 under Japan’s initiative to refocus international attention on the importance and urgency of African development issues, as well as to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.
The main objectives of TICAD are to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their partners; and mobilise support for African-owned development initiatives.