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Malawi president in Tokyo for Afro-Japanese conference

President Joyce Banda of Malawi Tuesday left the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for Tokyo, Japan, where she is expected to attend the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).

According to a statement issued by State House Press Officer Brian Banda, there have been four TICAD conferences since 1993 through which Japan has tried to promote its ideas of global partnership and African ownership.

“Japan and its African partners believe that the priorities for economic and social development should be determined by African countries themselves, and that development should be pursued under a common framework for cooperation among all development actors,” said Banda.

During the last TICAD, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda committed his government to extending US$ 4 billion and financial assistance totalling US$ 2.5 billion over the next five years.

Japan also committed to establishing a fund at the Japan Bank for International Cooperation aimed at doubling investment in Africa.

The financial assistance will be provided through the fund over the next five years to help develop road networks and other traffic infrastructure.

In Tokyo, President Banda is expected to hold bilateral talks with current Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

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).

Addressing the assembly, President Banda called on African leaders to protect the girl-child and reduce maternal mortality.

While in Addis Ababa, according to Press Officer Banda, President Banda also held bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

She also had meetings with Michel Sidebe, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of The Global Fund, among others, and later launched the Global UNAIDS/LANCET Commission on HIV and Aids.

She also attended the AIDS Watch Africa Heads of State/African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) working lunch.

President Banda was elected Champion for HIV, TB and Malaria for the SADC region during this meeting.

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