Furthering this momentum, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will, in 2022, host the eight Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) in Tunisia. The conference will centre on strategic priorities that span industries such as utilities and energy; agriculture and agri-food; mobility, transport, and infrastructure; manufacturing; connectivity and digital infrastructure; and how investment empowers start-ups.
The first conference since the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), JICA looks to use the forum to build strong relations for the post-COVID world. With growing intent across Africa to use infrastructure projects, digital technologies, and investment to accelerate the continent’s economic development, Africa’s economic leaders, like Kenya, will be central to growth.
Kenya’s economic future looks positive, with GDP set to grow at 5.9% in 2022. As the most advanced economy in East Africa, the growing middle-class and appealing location has made Kenya the regional HQ of choice for many top multinationals. So too, it keeps attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), accounting for nearly 50% of regional GDP. Kenya and Japan have long enjoyed fruitful trade relations in agriculture, manufacturing, and the automotive industries. So too, Japan is a major financier of key infrastructure projects in the country. AfCFTA is already having a dramatic effect on global businesses looking to tap into the 1.2-billion-person African market. As one of the ‘big 4’ economies on the continent, Kenya will see AfCFTA further its importance as a key investment destination for global businesses.
TICAD7 welcomed more than 10,000 participants. It opened partnerships up to Japanese enterprises looking to invest in Africa. TICAD8 will do the same, already attracting the attention of top Japanese public- and private sector stakeholders. With JICA recently stating, “Japanese businesses see the tremendous opportunities in Africa – this is the next frontier in the global economy”, it is sure to strengthen Japan-Africa relations while starting many significant new relations.