African heads of state flock to Japan for TICAD IV

Yokohama- Japan (PANA) -- Presidents Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Amadou T oumani Touré of Mali arrived in Yokohama, in Japan's central southern part, on T u esday to attend the fourth Tokyo conference on Africa's development (TICAD IV) w h ich begins on Wednesday.
They would be followed by the presidents of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, Mozambique, Armando Guebeza and the King of Swaziland.
The presidents of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, Gabon, Om ar Bongo Ondimba, Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, S o uth Africa, Thabo Mbeki, Benin, Yayi Boni, and their counterparts from Rwanda, M a dagascar, Namibia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Kenya as well as the Prime Ministe r of Ethiopia, Meles Zeanwi, have been in Yokohama since Monday.
Among the countries that will be represented by the ministerial delegations are the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon, Morocco, Equatorial Guinea, Eg y pt, Algeria, Tunisia and Niger whose delegation is led by Prime Minister Seyni O m ar.
The TICAD IV, which will end on Friday, has as its theme: "A continent of hope a nd opportunities".
Its organizers want to make it a forum aimed at promoting "high-level" political dialogue between Africa and its development partners, including Japan.
The results of the TICAD IV are expected to enrich the proceedings of the summit of the eight most industrialised countries (G-8) scheduled to take place in Jap a n from 7 to 9 July 2008.
Through the TICAD, Japan has the ambition of helping economic growth in Africa, to facilitate the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), consoli d ation of peace and democracy and to help the continent face up to environmental a nd climate change issues.
The TICAD IV preparatory meetings took place from 30 to 31 October in Lusaka, Za mbia, for east and southern African countries; from 21 to 22 in Tunis, Tunisia, f or Central, North and West Africa, whereas the African ministerial conference wa s held in Libreville, Gabon.
In a bid to strengthen economic partnership between Asians and Africans, the TIC AD organised a process of direct negotiations between economic operators of the t wo parties "qualified and carefully selected" during three business forums, the f irst one of which took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in October 1999, bringin g together 110 businessmen from the two continents.
The second and third Africa-Asia forum for business (FAAA) successively took pla ce in Durban, South Africa, in July 2001, and in Dakar, Senegal, in 2004.
Alongside the TICAD IV, the city of Yokohama will from Wednesday to Sunday host an African fair that will see exhibitors from 40 African countries and several J a panese companies operating in several fields, the organisers said.

27 may 2008 23:10:00

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