President George Weah on Saturday, August 24, 2019 departed the country for the Asian Republic of Japan, where he is expected to be for about a week. The President, according an Executive Mansion release, has been invited by the Japanese Government to attend the 2019 Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
The conference takes place from August 28-30, 2019 in Pacifico, Yokohama.
It is not clear as to the number of his delegation, but the Daily Observer on Saturday gathered that the President is traveling with a 67-member delegation on special chartered flights that would take them to Tokyo within (about) 12 hours.
TICAD is an international conference led by Japan and co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank and the African Union Commission (AUC). It is held every five years in Japan with the objective “to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and development partners.” The first four of these conferences were held in Tokyo; the fifth one, like this year’s event, was held in nearby Yokohama.
TICAD has been an evolving element in Japan’s long-term commitment to fostering peace and stability in Africa through collaborative partnerships. The exchange of views amongst the conference delegates serves to underscore the case for more, not less, assistance from the major world economies.
The TICAD conferences were intended to help promote high-level policy dialogue amongst African leaders and their development partners.
According to the release, President Weah will join 46 other African leaders also invited to participate in the 7th Edition of the Development Conference, which began in 1993 to specifically foster economic cooperation between African countries and Japan, Asia’s 2nd economic powerhouse.
On the margins, President Weah is expected to hold bilateral discussions with Japanese officials and other African leaders at the conference.
While the President, along with his array of delegation, is away, Nathaniel McGill, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Office Staff, will act as chair of the cabinet in consultation with the Vice President via telephone contacts with the President.
Meanwhile public concern has been raised about the size of the President’s delegation to Japan in view of the critical economic situation facing the country, necessitating drastic cuts in civil servants’ salaries. According to a leading legal practitioner (name withheld), cuts in civil servants’ salaries currently being implemented are illegal, especially without their informed prior consent.
According to him, President Weah ought to show greater sensitivity by reducing the size of his delegations on his foreign travels. Presidential Press Secretary, Solo Kelgbeh, could not be reached for comment.