Malawi Pres. Banda in Tokyo for Afro-Japanese conference

Malawi President Joyce Banda on Thursday arrived in Yokohama, Japan, where she will join other African Heads of State and Government attending the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to be held in Yokohama from June 1 to 3, 2013.

This will be the fifth TICAD after the TICAD I (1993); TICAD II (1998); TICAD III (2003); and TICAD IV (2008).

President Banda was in Addis Ababa attending the 21st Summit of the African Union as well as the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union (OAU/AU).

According to the Malawi Ambassador to Japan, Brigadier Reuben Ngwenya, Malawi stands to benefit a lot from President Banda’s presence in Japan and attendance of the TICAD.

“Japan is a co-host of these conferences. Other co-organizers of TICAD are the United Nations Office of the Special Advisor on Africa (UN-OSSA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Union (AU). Her Excellency’s attendance at this strategically important conference will benefit Malawi as a nation in realizing her dream of rapid economic transformation through the engagement of strategic international partners. Japan is the third largest economy in the world,” Ngwenya told Nyasa Times.

JB jokes with parliamentarian Daniel Undani

JB jokes with parliamentarian Daniel Undani

According to Ngwenya, Banda’s presence at TICAD V will also serve to strengthen the bilateral relationship between Malawi and Japan, especially taking cognizance of the huge Japan’s role in Malawi’s social and economic development; foreign investment; strengthening of Malawi’s health system; support for HIV/Aids prevention and control; support towards Gender and Development, education, agriculture, telecommunications, civil aviation, fisheries, civil engineering and architecture and Balance of Payment, among other areas.

President Banda is also  expected to hold bilateral talks with current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

The Japanese Government, through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), last week handed over a donation of 33 light and heavy vehicles and 33 motorbikes to the Government of Malawi.

President Banda is on Friday, May 31, 2013, expected to be Guest Speaker at a Symposium of Japanese Business companies, whose main objectives are to strengthen business ties between Japan and Africa and to disseminate information to achieve greater breadth and depth for such ties; and a Symposium on Women Challenges, Economic Growth and Empowerment.

The President is also expected to have a bilateral meeting with  Hirobumi Kawano, President of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC).

In July 2010, Malawi and JOGMEC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mineral exploration in Malawi. JOGMEC is currently carrying out an exploration project on rare earth elements in a joint venture with Gold Canyon Resources. The project is located in Chambe Basin, Mulanje Mountain and in Mangochi.

The Malawi leader will also have a bilateral meeting with JICA President Mr. Akihiko Tanaka. The President will witness the signing of a Grant Agreement for the construction of a state-of-the art Lilongwe Teachers’ Training College by the JICA President and Malawi’s Minister of Economic Development and Planning  Ralph Jooma.

The President is also scheduled to meet Malawians living in Japan, mostly students, and members of the Malawi Society of Japan; Japanese nationals who have lived and worked in Malawi in various sectors.

The Deputy Ambassador Rosemary Kanyuka leads the Presidenty into the Grand Intercontinetal Hotel in Yokohama where the TICAD V will also be held

The Deputy Ambassador Rosemary Kanyuka leads the Presidenty into the Grand Intercontinetal Hotel in Yokohama where the TICAD V will also be held

Some senior government officials await the arrival of President Banda at Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Yokohama, Japan

Some senior government officials await the arrival of President Banda at Grand Intercontinental Hotel in Yokohama, Japan

Economic Planning and Development Minister Ralph Jooma and Zomba legislator Daniel Undani exchange notes just before the President's arrival

Economic Planning and Development Minister Ralph Jooma and Zomba legislator Daniel Undani exchange notes just before the President’s arrival

JB greets an official from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Charles Mtonga

JB greets an official from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Charles Mtonga

JB encounters the Flower Girl

JB encounters the Flower Girl

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