By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja Sunday for Japan to participate in the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7) holding in the City of Yokohama, August 28-30, 2019 and is expected back in Nigeria on Saturday, August 31.
According to the Presidency, Buhari’s participation would be his second, having attended TICAD6 in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2016.
With the theme, “Africa and Yokohama, Sharing Passion for the Future,” the Opening Session of TICAD7 would be performed by the Japanese Prime Minister and host, Shinzo Abe.
President Buhari would deliver Nigeria’s Statement during Plenary Session Three in which he will appraise Nigeria-Japan relations and takeaways from TICAD6. He will attend a State Banquet and also honour the invitation of Emperor Naruhito to a Tea Reception at the Imperial Palace, Tokyo.In addition to a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe, the Nigerian President will also attend some side-events and meet chief executive officers of some Japanese companies with huge investments in Nigeria.
Formed in 1993, the now triennial TICAD, which has been convened alternately in Japan and Africa since TICAD6, according to the organisers, is the largest international conference held in Japan which “provides an open forum that generates innovative discussion among various stakeholders on African development.” Participants are drawn not only from African countries, but also international organisations, private companies and civil society organisations involved in development.
TCAD7 would focus on Africa’s “economic transformation and improvements in business environment and institution through private investment and innovation; promotion of resilient and sustainable African society for human security; and peace and stability in support of Africa’s domestic proactive efforts.”
Nigeria has gained tremendously since her participation in TICAD6 at the highest level, during which Japan pledged $30 billion investment “for the future of Africa combined with the private sector;” $10 billion infrastructure investment, and $500 million for vocational training of 50,000 Africans.
Since the Nairobi Conference, Japanese government and companies have been very active in supporting Nigeria’s agriculture, healthcare, electricity and youth empowerment.
The President and his delegation are expected in Yokohama to push for broader Japanese assistance in the areas of science and technology, innovation, human resource development, education, agriculture, power, health and disaster risk reduction, among others.
President Buhari was accompanied by Governors Babagana Zulum, AbdulRaham AbdulRazaq and Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Borno, Kwara and the Lagos States respectively; ministers and other top government officials.
Israel Extols 30years of Renewed Diplomatic Relations With Nigeria
Amb. Michael Freeman, Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria, has extolled the maiden nine-day project on “Art of friendship” in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Israel-Nigeria renewed diplomatic relations.
Freeman said this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, on the sidelines of the ongoing project implementation fixed from Jan.
The envoy said that the project was carried out in patnership with Orisun Art Gallery to mark the 30 years of renewed diplomatic relations between Israel and Nigeria since 1992.
According to him, the project by Ella Amitai Sadovsky, an Israeli Artist and Dr Peju Layiwola, Nigerian Artist, was designed to promote diplomatic ties and friendship between the two countries.
Freeman said, “Israel and Nigeria are marking renewed diplomatic relations of 30 years of renewed friendship; we chose to symbolise this by hosting event with two world renowned artists.
“One artist from Nigeria and one from Israel have come together in Abuja after working for six-months, to produce one unique piece of art.
“In the past, they have been artists that worked together and collaborated to produce their own piece, but this two artists are to produce one unique piece that both will work on.
“To reflect Nigeria-Israel and the relationship between the two countries, we chose art because it is an expressive form which allows people talk about their desires.
“Art is open to interpretation, possibilities; it reminds us all the time and it lasts for ever; every person sees a different opportunity, potential and ways of seeing piece of art.”
He mentioned that the art-piece would reflect diverse opportuninty, potential and values that showcase Israel/Nigeria agriculture, waterways, economic cooperation and beautiful landscape.
Freeman explained that the collaborative project was organised to commemorate the anniversary, showcase gallery of art for auction to raise funds for charity donation to less privileged in Israeli-NGO and Nigerian-NGO respectively.
In separate interview, Israeli Artist, Amitai Sadovsky, commended the project initiative to be designed for Nigerians to know more about Israel and for Israelis to know about Nigeria.
Amitai Sadovsky said, “It is very important to know not as a tourist but in person, to know not just Nigeria Artist, Dr Peju Layiwola, but many other artists here as well and to share ideas, thoughts and materials.
“The art industry or techniques are not so important, you can learn it; the major thing is to study about the similarity in history that we both have.
“The Israeli Jewish people were also colonised, for two thousand years, yet in less than75 years we are in Israel after an exile of more than 2000 years.”
For her part, Nigerian Artist, Layiwola described the project as unique, saying it would foster exchange of ideas by people-to-people between both countries.
“I think it is unique in the sense that we are not doing separate pieces of art, we are working on same platform.
“Both of us are creating work on the same platform in a very unique experience, I think it is the first of its kind really, when you think about how artists work.
“People say that artists like their own space and I think that we have come together as one to synergise our ideas and create this artwork, which will be auctioned.
“It is a platform for us to exchange ideas and techniques and products; it is a learning curve, she is learning from me, just as I am learning from her,” Layiwola said. (NAN)
UN Deputy Chief, Amina Mohammed Concludes 3-day Trip to Rome
UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed, on Friday concluded her 3-day trip to Rome where she met with the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Tajani.
UN Spokesman, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, told newsmen at the UN headquarters in New York that it was at the meeting with Tajani that she informed him about the Food Summit.
“In the meeting, it was announced that Italy would host the UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment, which will take place in Rome from July 24 to 26.
“The aim of the high-level meeting is to provide opportunities for countries to report on progress made at the national level since the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021, as well as their contributions to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda,’’ he said.
Dujarric said countries would review progress towards transforming food systems worldwide at a three-day meeting in Rome.
The so-called UN Food Systems Stocktaking Moment is the first global follow-up to a 2021 summit convened to change how the world produces, consumes and thinks about food.
The high-level event falls at the halfway point for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development (SDGs), which provide a blueprint for a more fair, equitable and “green” world.
“I am looking forward to Italy’s leadership in bringing together stakeholders to create the evidence that food systems transformation is a critical SDGs accelerator,’’ Mohammed quoted as saying.
Mohammed further stressing that “more sustainable, equitable, healthy and resilient food systems directly impact people’s lives and livelihoods as we strive for a better future for people and for the planet.”
During the Stocktaking Moment, countries will share stories of success and early signs of transformation, while maintaining the momentum needed to ensure resilient food systems.
It will take place from July 24 to July 26 at the headquarter of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in the Italian capital.
Italy will host, in collaboration with FAO and two other UN agencies – the international Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) – which are also based in Rome.
The UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, which supports governments in developing and implementing agrifood system transformation, and the wider UN system, are also organisers.
The three-day meeting will provide an opportunity for countries to report on progress made since the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021, held online, where more than 50,000 people, including 77 world leaders, committed to accelerate action on transformation.
At the Stocktaking Moment, governments will also assess their contributions to achieving sustainable development despite a current global context that has substantially changed.
The UN reports that the number of people worldwide who cannot afford a healthy diet rose by an additional 112 million between 2019 to 2020, to almost 3.1 billion, reflecting the impacts of rising food prices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Italy has welcomed its role as host and co-organiser, said Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
“Italy, with the strategic involvement of its strong and innovative agrifood sector, is committed to play an increasingly active role in supporting the efforts of the international community to promote food security and transformative and innovative solutions for sustainable and efficient food systems throughout the world,” he said.
“As one of the oldest and most influential food cultures of the world, we intend to play our part in addressing one of the key challenges for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.”
The Stocktaking Moment will further highlight the central role of food systems transformations in overall SDG advancement ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September.
The UN and Italy urged countries and stakeholders to “prepare and seize the opportunity” to reaffirm global commitment to act with urgency, in line with the promise of the SDGs. (NAN)
Russia Preparing Massive Missile Attack on Ukraine – Spokesperson
Russia is preparing a massive new missile attack on targets in Ukraine, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command said yesterday.
The spokesperson pointed to movements by the Russian Black Sea fleet.
Most of the fleet had returned to their bases, and this suggests a new missile strike, Natalya Humenyuk told Ukrainian television.
Since Russian forces launched a campaign of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure in October, most of the cruise missiles have been fired from naval vessels on the Black Sea.
The fire was from naval vessels on the Black Sea and Caspian Sea or from strategic bombers.
According to Humenyuk, only 10 Russian ships are still at sea.
“They show their muscle for a time at sea, demonstrate their presence and control over the situation and then sail to the bases, where they usually prepare for manoeuvres for a massive missile attack,’’ he Ukrainian military spokesperson has said.
Russian missile attacks have severely impaired Ukraine’s electrical power supply and other utilities.
Millions of people have been left without electricity, heating and water for extended periods during the long winter nights.
The attacks have repeatedly hit residential blocks.
In Dnipro, 45 people were killed and 80 injured on Jan. 14. (dpa/NAN)
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