Liberian CEOs Encouraged to Attend TICAD-VI Business Summit

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A midst preparations leading to the holding of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference for Africa Development (TICAD-VI) summit from August 27 to 28 in Nairobi, Kenya, the ambassadors of Liberia and Kenya to Japan have sounded passionate pleas for full participation of business executives from Liberia in the forum.

In separate interviews on Wednesday, July 13 with a host of African journalists, Liberia Minister Counselor David J. Saryee and Kenya Ambassador Solomon Karanja Maina describe the forum as “from decision to action.”

The diplomats said the conference would afford African CEOs the opportunity to interact with their Japanese counterparts on a wide range of possible investments on the continent.

For his part, Liberia’s Minister Counselor to Japan, David J. Saryee, expressed regret for the failure of the Liberian private sector to participate in the TICAD-V submit held in Yokohama, Japan, in 2013.

“We did everything possible to have our own Liberian business executives to attend the conference, but not a single person was present. We even contacted the Ministry of Commence to encourage them to attend the summit, but nothing happened,” Saryee said.

“This is the best opportunity for them to attend the Kenya summit, because they would meet with several Japanese CEOs to discuss possible partnerships that would help to improve the economy of our country,” Saryee said.

Also speaking, Kenya’s Ambassador to Japan, Solomon Karanja Maina, said the summit in Kenya is a defining movement in the process of TICAD because for the first time ever, “we are going to have business plenary sessions.”

“I am talking about Japanese CEOs and African CEOs sitting together to discuss business prospects. I am talking about business executives sitting with world leaders to discuss future business developments; this is the beginning of direct involvement of the private sector in the development agenda of Africa,” he added.

After the previous summit, TICAD-V, the Kenyan Ambassador said it was agreed that future meetings would alternate between Japan and Africa every three years, as opposed to five years.

“This will be the first time the summit (will) be held in Africa since its inception in 1993, and it’s now time for us Africans to take ownership of our own development with funding from Japanese entities; and Liberians should not be left-out,” the Kenya Ambassador said while he encouraged Liberia’s participation.

The decision to host TICAD-VI Summit in Africa was reached during the TICAD-V Summit in 2013 when it was agreed that the venue of subsequent TICAD Summits should alternate between Japan and Africa. The interval of summit meetings was also shortened from every 5 years to three (3) years.

Ambassador Maina added, “It is indeed a great honor and privilege for Kenya and Africa in general to host the first ever TICAD Summit on the continent. It is a major milestone and indeed a big boost towards achieving a more strategic partnership with Japan that we all desire.”

More importantly, he said, “it underscores the spirit of partnership and ownership which underpinned the very principles of the formation of TICAD in 1993.”

“It would provide non-state actors [the] platform to have direct access to world leaders regarding their views on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” the Kenyan Ambassador explained.

The holding of TICAD-VI would attract more than 7,000 participants from Africa and Japan that would review the implementation of TICAD-V.

The meeting will also bring together Heads of State, government ministers and other prominent representative of business, civil society and academia to tackle global trade and economic development.

The plenary session of the Business Executive Forum will precede the official opening of the conference and provide an opportunity for representatives of participating organizations to discuss and share their views on issues relating to the conference agenda, build consensus and finalize a business declaration, which will be presented at the opening plenary.

The conference will build important momentum for the implementation of the world’s post -2015 development agenda in the form of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African Union’s Agenda 2063 development blueprint.

The summit will look at the hope that African countries will undertake research on communicable diseases – in addition to skills transfer initiatives and ensuring that trade-related intellectual property rights system are flexible for the improvement of community health system – universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation, primary healthcare facilities and educational institutions in rural
areas, an informed settlement is imperative in ensuring the eradication of waterborne diseases and the reduction in time wastage among women accessing water for domestic use.

Civil Society grouping would also form part of the discussion because, according to the Kenya Ambassador, they sought to play a key role in ensuring accountability and eradication of poverty, while at the same time, ensuring no one is left behind in Africa in the context of the SDGs.

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