African heads of state and a Japanese delegation met in the Tunisian capital Tunis on Aug. 27 – 28 for talks on promoting “African-led” development.
Tunisian President Kais Saied welcomed visitors to the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which brought together delegates representing all continents, including the African Development Bank Group. Some 30 heads of state attended the summit.
Japan is expected to provide additional support to the continent’s development of communication infrastructure and to address food security. The African Development Bank Group is promoting strong, inclusive and sustainable growth in Africa through continued cooperation with Japan.
The event was co-organized jointly by the Japanese government, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser for Africa, the United Nations Development Program and the African Union Commission.
Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, tested positive for COVID-19 and used a video link to join the summit, chaired by African Union Chair, Macky Sall.
President Sall of Senegal spoke of his faith in the conference.
“Almost 30 years after its launch, the Tokyo International Conference for African Development continues to deliver on its promises with concrete results in the areas of education, agriculture, health and water, to give just a few examples,” he said.
On the agenda were measures aimed at countering China’s influence on Africa. China has been steadily increasing its influence in the region in recent years, notably through its ambitious “Silk Roads” project.
However, the summit was especially important for Tunisia as the country continues to suffer from a political and economic crisis, made worse by the COVID pandemic and, more recently, the war in Ukraine affecting wheat imports.
Tunisia hopes to take advantage of the summit to attract investors for about 80 projects worth $2.7 billion in the health, automotive, space and renewable energy sectors, which are expected to create 35,700 jobs.