President Paul Biya along side his African counterparts begin discussions on the third Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
After a successful state visit to the People’s Republic of China, President Paul Biya today, Monday 29 September joins his counterparts from other African countries to talk development and other socio-political challenges of the continent. The Head of State arrived in Tokyo from Hongkong Saturday 27 September 2003 for this important Tokyo international Conference on African Development TICAD III. It should be recalled that the preparatory meeting for TICAD III by the Central and West African Region was held in Yaounde on June 23-24, 2003 and the priorities for the September 29-1st October TICAD III adopted. As resolved at the Yaounde regional preparatory conference, TICAD III which opens in Tokyo today focuses on such crucial developmental challenges as the consolidation of peace in African nations, agricultural development, good governance, significance of South-South co-operation, partnership for African Development, NEPAD and Africa’s development, the fight against the HIV/AIDS and the promotion of Asia-Africa Co-operation, among other Africa’s developments issues. Today’s opening session is expected to be chaired by the former Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshiro Mori. President Paul Biya is among today’s speakers so are other African Heads of state who will present papers on a variety of Africa’s developmental challenges. The Secretary General of The United Nation’s Organisation is being represented at the conference by H.E. Ibrahim Gambari, Special Advisor on African Affairs at the UN. A significant aspect of TICAD III is that it is being held at a time it already boasts of 10 years of its existence. The third Tokyo International Conference on the African Development is also expected to come out with a TICAD tenth Anniversary Declaration aimed at tackling the old and new challenges of the African continent. TICAD is an initiative of the Government of Japan which in 1992 with the Global Coalition for Africa, and the United Nations launched the idea of organising a conference devoted to Africa’s development. The co-organisers later expanded to include the UNDP and the World Bank. With its well-acclaimed objectives of giving priority to the development of African nations, the prayers of Africans and their true friends is that TICAD should not become another organisation where there is more of talking and paper work than a judicious pursuit of objectives in theory and practice.