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Cotonou, Benin

Last updated date:2024/1/25

Proclamation of Exchange and Cooperation
with the City of Cotonou, Republic of Benin


On November 28 of last year, the mayor of Cotonou and former President of Benin, Mr. Nicéphore Soglo, paid a visit to Yokohama. Cotonou is similar to Yokohama in many ways. It is the largest city of Benin, one of its major ports, and has undergone a dramatic population explosion in the last 50 years. The Beninese delegation’s visit to Yokohama took the form of a tour of various facilities in the city and culminated in the two mayors signing a joint statement for exchange and cooperation between Yokohama and Cotonou.

Cotonou Mayor Soglo and H.E. Mr Rufin Zomahoun

But I feel like this needs a little background information. In 2008 was held in Yokohama the 4th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). Thanks to the great success of this conference, Yokohama acquired considerable visibility with the countries of Africa. It is in this context that Cotonou contacted Yokohama with a proposal of intercity cooperation in 2012. As Yokohama was to hold TICAD V the next year—the City identified the slogan “Africa and Yokohama, Toward Mutual Growth” to the event as it was fast becoming the Japanese city most intimately familiar with Africa—it seemed only natural to work toward establishing cooperation before the end of this commemorative year.

Tour of port facilities

This brings us to November 2013 and to President-Mayor Soglo’s visit to Yokohama. The Proclamation was concluded on the base of a partnership aiming for mutual growth and the contribution to world peace and development. This kind of joint statement is the orientation Yokohama is taking toward the future of international relations. They strive to address what can be done between cities under a shared principle of mutual growth. Such joint statements have also been concluded with the cities of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel (September 2012) and Callao, Peru (March 2013).

Yokohama Mayor Hayashi and Cotonou Mayor Soglo

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