Kenya will be the first African country to host the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Yokohama Action Plan in Nairobi during the second half of 2016. This will enable Kenya to strategize on the best methods to seek financial and technical support from Japan within the framework of TICAD initiative to implement priority projects in line with the Vision 2030 blue print.
The country will also utilize the forthcoming Kenya/Japan Annual Bilateral Consultations for Economic Cooperation for 2015/2016 financial year to discuss areas of future cooperation and other issues of mutual interest between the two countries.

Kenya’s cooperation with Japan is anchored currently on the fifth TICAD Yokohama Action Plan. Under the Action Plan, particularly the “Yokohama Declaration”, the road map for the support of African growth and development under the TICAD process has been clearly defined.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr. Henry Rotich, said the TICAD meeting which will be the first one in the African soil is a clear testimony that Africa and in particular Kenya is an ideal investment destination.
While signing a Ksh3.29 billion loan agreement in support of Kenya’s health sector from Japan with the country’s Ambassador Mr. Terada Tatsushi, Mr. Rotich expressed optimism that the conference will be a major success, noting that Japan is Kenya’s major development partner in diverse social and economic development projects.
He said the sixth TICAD meeting will also strengthen Kenya’s endeavours to forge ahead in trade, investment and development in the African continent and beyond, adding that other countries will exploit economic and commercial opportunities available in the country.
Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Mr. Terada, lauded the Kenyan Government for accepting to host the first TICAD meeting in Africa in 2016.
Mr. Terada said TICAD is an open, multilateral and international forum to discuss the future development of Africa. It was initiated by the government of Japan in 1993 and is currently co-organized by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission and the United Nations. During TICAD the fifth meeting, diverse participants namely African heads of State, International and regional organizations, the private sector, development partners and others discussed Africa’s future. TICAD V, held in Yokohama in 2013, had more than 4,500 participants including over 40 African heads of state and government.
“TICAD is one of the oldest forums to discuss Africa’s development among multi-stakeholders. When it was launched, afro-pessimism overwhelmed the discussion of Africa. TICAD has always emphasized the importance of ‘ownership’ and ‘partnership’. With these ideas, it has shed light on Africa and contributed to revive the international community’s attention to Africa”, said Mr. Terada.
“TICAD’s action plan is closely followed-up and materialized. It has had annual ministerial level follow-up meetings since 2008. During the latest meeting held Yaounde, Cameroon in May 2014, it was announced that the action plan previously agreed on is on track and has already achieved 25 percent”, he added.
Second, the Ambassador said, TICAD has brought Japanese companies to Africa. During TICAD V, the importance of the private sector in Africa’s development was emphasized. The government of Japan is assisting Japanese companies to invest more in Africa. This has seen the number of Japanese companies with offices in Kenya increased by 30 percent since 2013.
“The next TICAD conference is the first leaders’ level meeting in Africa. It has been held in Japan every five years since its beginning. The request from African countries to bring TICAD to Africa has changed its cycle to three years with the host country alternating between Japan and Africa. The African request is proof that Africa has high expectations for TICAD which brings about tangible development to Africa”, added Mr. Terada.
The Ambassador said the meeting will also strengthen Kenya-Japan relations and showcase Kenya to Japan and the International community. It has the potential to increase investment and more tourists from abroad including Japan to Kenya.
Mr. Terada said Yokohama Action Plan adopted in the TICAD V will strengthen and facilitate the promotion of development cooperation policies of health systems in a bid to accelerate the achievement of Universal Healthcare Coverage in Africa.
On new development perspective Japan intends to craft, the Ambassador said his country will host an International Conference on Universal Health Coverage in December 2015 which is geared towards building resilient health systems which will accord health sector stakeholders the great opportunity to explore the roles of Universal Health Coverage in the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will most likely challenge the world by setting higher goals regarding access to health services.

On balance of trade between Kenya and Japan, it should be noted that it is heavily against Kenya which exports comparatively low value commodities consisting of tea, coffee and cut flowers to Japan while in turn exports mainly vehicles and machinery to Kenya.
Over the years, the Far East nation has funded several development projects in Kenya which now stands at Sh469.5 billion. The colossal sum of money to Kenya in form of grants and loans, therefore demonstrates the underlying deepening bilateral ties between Kenya and Japan.