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Uhuru upbeat as Japanese premier jets in for Tokyo summit

By Roselyne Obala | August 27th 2016
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at State House Nairobi where he meet Presidet Uhuru Kenyatta for a news conference on the Sixth Tokyo International Conference of African Development. TICAD. Picture By MAXWELL AGWANDA/ STANDARD

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) kicks off in earnest today. Nairobi will turn into a beehive of activity as business and political leaders jet in for the historic summit.

Top on the agenda are issues regarding industrialisation, health systems, inclusion and stability towards prosperity between Africa and Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is among 37 Heads of State and delegates from across the world in attendance.

Yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Premier Abe held bilateral talks at State House ahead of the official opening of the conference today at KICC, Nairobi. Abe inspected a guard of honour mounted by Kenya Air Force, with an elaborate reception complete with a19-gun salute. The two leaders highlighted benefits of the conference, justifying the reason why Africa was the best host for the 6th conference, the first outside Tokyo since 1993.

“We look forward to a frank deliberation aimed at strengthening ties between Kenya and Japan and Japan and Africa. The continent is rising and we can only realise our full height if we lift each other,” urged President Kenyatta. He said he was happy the summit is going to address three key fundamental issues geared towards transforming Africa.

“The delegates exchange will be on diversity in industrialisation by Africa living up to its potential in ensuring it’s rid of poverty. This will mean avoiding the miss steps of those who have walked this path before,” said Kenyatta.

He argued that the path to industrialisation should be clean, devoid of environmental damage and preserving historical heritage in improving the lives of Africans.

On the health sector, he said: “We must built resilience in the health system by strengthening all sectors to be able to respond to health issues. All players should be accommodated.”

The President also emphasised the need to empower the youth. “Most Africans are young. We need to focus our energy on the youth by making sure they are included in the governance of the country. Kenya has an experience to share on youth empowerment and we are ready to learn from the experience of others,” assured the President.

The short ceremony at State House was also attended by Abe’s wife, Akie Abeis, and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries led by Amina Mohammed of Foreign Affairs.

Abe said the conference would be a deal breaker for Africa and Japan. “It was the wish of the African leaders that the summit be held in Africa and after discussion with them and President Kenyatta, I completely agreed. This is historic,” he said.

He added: “We are pushing forward with what TICAD stands for. We believe in contributing towards high quality technology. For instance, in agriculture, it will boast the economy and improve living conditions, this will lead to a stable Africa.”

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