Government Ministers from 53 African countries will on Saturday October 6, this year, converge in Tokyo, Japan for the seventh ministerial meeting under the auspices of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI).

The conference will create the platform for officials from African countries to review the progress of commitment and priorities set out in TICAD VI, which was held in 2016 in Kenya.

Participants would also have the opportunity to discuss the directions and possible priorities for TICAD VII scheduled for August, 2019 at Yokohama in Japan.

From Ghana, a delegation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by the sector Minister, Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, is expected to arrive in Japan today to participate in the conference.

Ahead of the conference, journalists from some African countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, and Egypt are in Japan to learn more about Japan’s relationship with Africa.

So far, the journalist have had the opportunity to visit a number of Japanese institutions, including Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), to learn more about their projects in Africa.

Topics on the table for discussion at the ministerial meeting include infrastructure, agriculture and health.

Briefing journalists ahead of the conference, the Executive Vice President of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), Mr Katsumi Hirano, stressed the need for African countries to focus on removing any barrier that obstruct trade among member state.

He said one of the major ways Africa could rise above its development challenges was to trade among themselves.

“Do not build a system that would not allow free trade among yourselves. If Africans can trade among themselves, it would be easier for them to expand their economic fortunes,” Mr Hirano said.

He also mentioned the neglect of the agricultural sector as one of the major issues that continued to derail the growth of the African continent, indicating that Africa could become the bread basket of the world if more attention was given to the agriculture sector.