A traffic jam in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire. The project seeks to ease road congestion in the city.

By providing an opportunity for high-level policy dialogue, the Japan-led TICAD has become a major global platform through which African countries, as well as international stakeholders, can collaborate to promote Africa’s development.
The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) will be held on August 27 and 28, 2016, in Nairobi, Kenya. All the heads of state and government of Africa and their development partners will meet for the first time in the world’s second-largest continent to discuss the progress of a series of Japan-led aid initiatives to speed up the growth and development of Africa.
Since its launch in 1993 by the Government of Japan, in cooperation with the United Nations and the Global Coalition for Africa (GCA), TICAD has evolved into a major global and open forum for mobilizing and sustaining international support for Africa’s development under the principles of African “ownership” and international “partnership,” enabling Africa to determine its own goals and approaches.
At the last TICAD summit held in Yokohama, Japan, in 2013, the Government of Japan pledged a $32 billion aid package for Africa over the fi ve-year period through 2017.
Under the TICAD programmes, through public and private partnership, Japan has steadily implemented the assistance it had pledged, and has produced tangible achievements. Among many remarkable outcomes of the aid initiatives that were implemented over the past 23 years, the projects in urban planning in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia are worth particular attention.

The Greater Abidjan Project

The urban network in Abidjan was disrupted as the population of the largest city and former capital of Côte d’Ivoire had doubled every seven years since 1945.
Soon after the civil war ended in 2011, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started co-surveying Abidjan’s transportation system with local authorities, and launched in 2013 the Project of the Development of Urban Master Plan in Greater Abidjan to help establish urban and transportation infrastructure in the 13 communes of the Abidjan Autonomous District and the 6 surrounding towns, namely Dabou, Jacqueville, Grand-Bassam, Bonoua, Alépé and Azaguié.
Kra Kouman, then director of Urban Development at the Ministry of Construction, Housing, Hygiene and Urban Development of Côte d’Ivoire, told JICA that Abidjan sought Japan’s cooperation because Japan itself, like Côte d’Ivoire, had undergone similar urban problems caused by the rapid economic and population growth following World War II, but managed to tackle these issues.
The project was carried out from February 2013 to March 2015 by a consortium of Tokyo-based engineering consulting companies under the programme of official development cooperation between the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and JICA.

Radès-La Goulette Bridge

A postage stamp featuring an illustration of the so-called “bridge of Japan.” Right: The stamp was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Tunisia-Japan cooperation.

Another noteworthy example is the construction of the Radès-La Goulette Bridge in Tunisia. Under the project led by JICA,the 260-metre bridge was built in 2009 to replace the time consuming ferry services and provide a bypass function in the Grand Tunis region around the capital of Tunis so as to ease traffic congestion in the city. Approximately 2 million people, or one-fifth of the Tunisian population, reside in the Grand Tunis region, which is divided into southern and northern areas by the Tunis lake canal.
The bridge is now dubbed “the bridge of Japan” as it was built with financial support from Japan. High technology such as “extra-dosed” structures, which Japan has used in several local bridges, was introduced, making it easier for Tunisia to maintain the structure over the coming years.
At the inauguration of this beautiful bridge, African government officials voiced satisfaction over the technical, artistic, aesthetic and environmental characteristics of the Radès-La Goulette Bridge.
Under the TICAD framework, Japan has already launched a series of projects. The country’s aim is to offer “inclusive development,”a concept that means Japan is not only building infrastructure in Africa, but also being mindful of providing more jobs for locals and of returning the projects’ profits to the continent.
More than 6,000 participants from Africa, Japan and various international organizations are expected to attend the sixth TICAD to discuss sustainable and stable economic development in Africa. The Government of Japan, which has hosted the past five TICADs, will make every possible effort to ensure the success of the first TICAD to be held on the African continent.