Fellow Citizens of Africa,
Just over seven decades ago, a group of90 delegates from around the world,gathered a little over a thousand miles away, in the United Kingdom’s Manchester City, for the Fifth Pan-African congress. They were brought together by a thirst for freedom and bound together by a fierce sense of brotherhood.
These delegates understood implicitly that the fates of all African territories were inextricably linked; and that the souls of all black folk were stung by common afflictions, victims of a common plight and needed to contend for a better destiny. Together, they wrestled with the common issues of their time: the cruelty of racial oppression, and the arrogance of imperialism. Together, they sought to wrest power from the tyranny of an unjust ideology that infringed on the inalienable rights of millions of human beings.
Together they formed the Pan-African federation dedicated to advancing their interests, and cooperating with like-minded peoples in order to do so. Their efforts contributed to the liberation of a continent and demonstrated the critical role that an African Diaspora, operating on foreign soil, had to play in advancing the interests of a continent.
Today, we need a similar kind of unity, and a similar spirit of Pan-Africanism among Africans across the world and, crucially,among you -Africa’s acclaimed ambassadors; strategically positioned to leverage your collective authority to advance the interests of Africans within the world’s bastions of power. Granted,our continent has in recent years been termed as rising. Africa rests at the centre of global focus as the continent of the future. Economically, the latent potential that lies in our natural resources and vibrant youth demography is remarkable and just waiting to be harnessed.
Politically, we have seen several encouraging examples of peaceful democratic processes that prove the maturity of our people. Socially, there is a growing consciousness of the need for cohesion and the threshold of tolerance for divisive politics and poor governance,is becoming lower and lower. Yet much work remains to be done. As a continent,we still have a common set of pervasive problems to address.
The triple threats of poverty, ignorance and disease continue to assail our people and weaken the social fabric of our societies.
Electoral cycles are punctuated by upheaval, unrest and violence in far too many countries. And to these age-old problems, have been added new menaces of climate change, terrorism, and the ongoing youth radicalization that is made possible, at least in part, by a deep-seated malaise among youth who are unable to find gainful employment. These complex problems call for comprehensive solutions that involve not just the effort of African governments, or the action of African people, but the good-will of our strategic partners around the world – including here,in Germany.
Indeed, it is only through a concerted effort on the part of every stakeholder in Africa, that we will forge a stronger future for our continent, and in so doing, build a stronger world as well. Action is therefore required on a number of fronts.
For one, the African Union, that mainstay of Pan-African pride, must be strengthened and imbued with greater resources to carry out agenda 2063.
For another thing, there must be increased investment among all of Africa’s stakeholders in securing the sustainable management of our environment, and creating solutions to contemporary environmental challenges such as global climate change, ozone layer depletion and air pollution, and resource degradation. As a continent heavily dependent on agriculture and on our natural resources,we must recognize that we have the most to lose from climate change and other environmental issues, and we have the most to gain from addressing them.
As a continent, we must also invest heavily in ensuring the prevalence of peace among our people. Kenya has been at the forefront of regional peace initiatives, contributing to peace efforts in Somalia, where it is working with other Troop Contributing countries within the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As a result of our combined intervention, State building in Somalia has made progress and we believe we will soon realize sustainable peace within the region. But that process must be accelerated for the sake of regional stability.
AMISOM must be reinvigorated, and the calls of the African Union for the UN to support AMISOM at all levels commensurate with similar UN peace enforcement missions, must be seriously considered.
Finally, Brothers and Sisters, the African continent must set its sights squarely on the goal of continental integration. Indeed, I am personally convinced that our future lies in accelerated integration,enhanced trade and, particularly, improved intra-African trade.
While over the past decade, Africa’s commitment to regional economic integration has grown, with the continent’s total trade (both imports and exports) tripling in value to $1.2 trillion, there are still challenges that remain, including inadequate hard infrastructure, poor transport connections, and costly and unreliable power supplies. To mitigate these challenges requires heavy investment in infrastructural networks that link the continent and in energy.
Already, African Governments have resolved to build the capacity of various actors involved in the integration process. They have committed to enabling Africa’s private sector to participate in large regional integration projects as well as negotiation with global actors.
These are encouraging signs of the prevailing political good-will towards the idea of integration, and of the widespread understanding that integration will bring with it bigger markets for African goods, more jobs for African peoples, economic growth for African countries, and a brighter future for the youth of our continent.
Today, I reaffirm that Kenya remains committed to realizing integration, and to pursuing the strategic interests of the African continent, through every available means and at every available opportunity.
We will do so at the TICAD VI process that will be hosting from 27th – 28th August, 2016 where we will continue to seek the development of Africa’s private sector by providing a forum for African and Japanese business executive to engage with Heads of State and Government on ways to enhance the business environment within Africa.
We will do so at The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) XIV Conference which we will again be hosting from 17th – 22nd July 2016.
We will do so because we know that insecurity, poverty and under-development anywhere on the continent,constitutes a threat to security, prosperity and development throughout the continent.
As a country, we look forward to partnering with you all in the journey to a safer, more prosperous, and a more unified continent.