June 25, 2015
JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (left), and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou (right)
Akihiko Tanaka, president of JICA, and Mahamadou Issoufou, president of Niger, discussed peace and stability in the Sahel region of Africa and JICA's cooperation to Niger on June 19 in Tokyo.
It was the first time in 29 years a Nigerien president had visited Japan.
Tanaka began the discussion by saying Niger is an important country for peace and stability in the Sahel region (between the Sahara Desert and the Sudanian Savanna), and he discussed with Issoufou the regional situation and JICA's cooperation.
Issoufou thanked Tanaka for JICA's long years of cooperation, and in particular for its contributions in the education and agricultural sectors. He said he hopes for continued assistance. Niger in recent years has been influenced by worsening security in such neighboring countries as Libya, Mali and Nigeria, and Issoufou said assistance from the international community is important for regional stability.
JICA is ready to continue its cooperation for the stability of Niger and the Sahel, Tanaka responded.
Former JOCVs sent to Niger (back row), JICA President Akihiko Tanaka (front left) and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou (front right)
After the talks, a friendly gathering was held for Issoufou and seven former Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. The JOCVs spoke in local languages of Niger and talked about their activities when they were in the country.
"All you JOCVs worked in harsh living conditions for the people of Niger who are in the weakest of positions," Issoufou told them.
He then thanked the approximately 700 JOCVs who have been sent to Niger. The Government of Niger wants to work to improve security so the dispatching of JOCVs can resume, he added.
JICA will continue its cooperation to Niger to contribute to both development and security.