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TANAKA Akihiko

April 19, 2013

President Tanaka Visits Djibouti and Holds Talks with President Guelleh
–Stronger support announced for regional stability and economic development–

photoCol. Waïs Omar Bogoreh, left, explains the Djibouti Coast Guard's mission and activities to JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.

On April 17, JICA President Akihiko Tanaka arrived in Djibouti, the eighth country in sub-Saharan Africa he has visited as the head of JICA. On 17th, he visited the Djibouti Coast Guard for which JICA plans to provide technical cooperation, followed by a tour to junior high school "College De Fukuzawa" constructed by Japan's Grant Aid. He had meetings with President Ismaël Omar Guelleh and Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssouf on the following day.

1. Receiving an explanation by Col. Waïs Omar Bogoreh on the mission and activities of the Djibouti Coast Guard, Tanaka observed some activities. He said the cooperation to the Coast Guard will contribute to the actions and measures necessary for fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, an issue of worldwide concern. He also mentioned JICA would like to further strengthen cooperation to the coast guard. In turn, Col. Waïs expressed his gratitude for Japan's cooperation, and hopes for continued cooperation.

2. Tanaka then moved to the Balbala district in the outskirts of the city of Djibouti and visited the junior high school College De Fukuzawa[1] built in 1995. The school admits a wide range of students and turns out a large number of highly capable people. Tanaka affirmed the importance of continued cooperation in the field of human resource development.

3. On the next day, April 18, Tanaka met with President Guelleh and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, the government spokesman, and exchanged ideas for the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V)[2] planned for June in Yokohama.

photoDjibouti President Ismaël Omar Guelleh, left, shakes hands with JICA President Akihiko Tanaka.

4. In talks with Foreign Minister Youssouf, discussing the geopolitical importance of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa region (which includes Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia), the two affirmed the significance of focusing on enhancing maritime safety and developing infrastructure and human resources to realize Djibouti's role as a regional economic hub.

5. In his talks with Tanaka, President Guelleh expressed his gratitude for Japan's assistance, approaching its 30th anniversary this year. The two confirmed that Djibouti and Japan will further strengthen their relationship. Guelleh also hoped strongly further cooperation from Japan for power sector development including renewable energy, and water resource development. In turn, Tanaka expressed his desire to continue cooperation centered mainly on infrastructure, human resource development and maritime safety, in line with Djibouti's development policy.

After holding these talks, Tanaka departed for his next destination, Ethiopia.


[1] The school building was constructed under Japanese grant aid, and the school opened in 1995. The Djibouti government gave College De Fukuzawa its name as an expression of gratitude to Japan. "Fukuzawa" is not only a Japanese surname, it also means "to open together" in Arabic, and the name includes the meaning of "opening up future possibilities with Japan," according to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
[2] TICAD V is an international conference whose theme is African development. Since 1993, with Japanese government leadership, it has been held jointly with the United Nations, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and others. In June 2013, the fifth TICAD will be held in Yokohama.


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