The Gambia’s Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Monday August 26 will leave The Gambia for Japan to attend the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) in Yokohama, Japan.
The annual conference that attracts African Heads of Statenotably Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, will be held from 28th – 30th August, 2019. This year’s summit themed, “Advancing Africa’s Development through People, Technology and Innovation,” is expected to bridge the gap for greater economic cooperation between The Gambia and Japan in the areas of agriculture, science and technology.
The Vice President Dr. Isatou Touray, who heads the Gambian delegation to TICAD will deliver a speech on behalf of the Government of The Gambia which will be followed by bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit.
Gambia – Japan relations
The Gambia and Japan established diplomatic and bilateral relations in 1965 and since then, cooperation between the two brotherly countries have increased greatly. Especially under the current administration, bilateral relations had not only expanded but deepened in all areas, mostly notable in economic relations, political relations as well as people- to-people exchange.
With regard to aid, Japan recently made swift response by giving food aid to the farming community following the severe droughts The Gambia suffered in 2017 – 2018 farming season. Japan gave 3,800 tons of rice, approximately $2 million of food support to the Government of The Gambia. This assistance came on the heels of Foreign Minister Tangara’s visit to Tokyo in October 2018 where he met with the Foreign Minister of Japan, H.E. Taro Kono.
In addition, in February this year, Gambia and Japansigned a grant under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects for the construction of a clinic in Brikama. The sum of 70,964 Euros was assigned for the construction of the new Brikama Medical Clinic. The Brikama project was designed to ensure improved medical environment and service to the people of West Coast Region, especially for the poor and those suffering from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension etc. Also, Japan has increased annual scholarships for civil servants and Gambian students.
Annually, Japan gives Official Development Assistance (ODA) to The Gambia meant to improve livelihoods of rural people with the provision of water supply and food aid and support to the economic activities by improving the basis of agriculture and fishery sectors. In April this year, the Government of Japan announced that it would make an exponential increase in the amount of ODA The Gambia receives annually.
As bilateral relations between The Gambia and Japan have seen significant improvements in recent years in all fields of cooperation, hopes are high that the 7th TICAD will serve as a vehicle to assisting The Gambia attain its economic, health, educational and infrastructural needs.