Kenya, Austria Chart Ways to Boost Relationship

By Andrew Kuria

Nairobi, Friday October 28, 2016 (MFA Press) — Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohamed yesterday held bilateral talks with visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Integration of Republic of Austria Hon. Sebastian Kurz at her Office.

CS Amina Mohamed hailed the strong relations between the two countries and appreciated development assistance from Austria Government over the years through Austria Development Cooperation (ADC).

The Austrian Minister informed that he had come with a large business delegation that had earlier in the day participated in a business Forum at the Kempinski Hotel.

Hon Kurz also held meetings with the Cabinet Secretaries for Energy and Health, where they discussed ways of support to their respective sectors.

He expressed satisfaction with the engagements he had already undertaken in the country. He noted that Kenya’s economy was growing at the rate of over 5%, which was impressive and the strides made in the ease of doing business index was indicative of the country’s viability as an investment destination.

Hon Kurz was in Kenya for a two-day visit. He becomes the First Foreign Minister from Austria visit Kenya.

CS Amina Mohamed Meets Women Leaders, informs of her AUC Chairperson Candidature

SPEECH BY AMB. (DR.) AMINA C. MOHAMED, EGH, CAV, CABINET SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS DURING THE KENYA WOMEN BUSINESS LEADERS’ , SERENA HOTEL, NAIROBI, 27TH OCTOBER, 2016

Colleagues Cabinet Secretaries,

Principal Secretaries,

Hon. Parliamentarians,

Ms. Carole Kariuki,

Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Private Sector Alliance,

 Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am extremely grateful to the Kenya Women Business Leaders’ for hosting this dinner in my honour and in support of Kenya’s candidature for the position of Chairperson of the African Union Commission. I am humbled by the presence of each one of you and wish to express my deepest gratitude to all of you.

Your presence here is not only a reflection of the solidarity that has over the years propelled and elevated the status of women in society; it is also a demonstration of your commitment to a national and continental agenda and your abiding faith in the possibility of a stronger, more united and prosperous Africa.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Speaking during the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Summit in Addis Ababa on May 25, 1963, Emperor Haile Selassie said and I quote:

“Africa is today at midcourse, in transition from the Africa of yesterday to the Africa of tomorrow. Even as we stand here, we move from the past into the future. The task on which we have embarked, the making of Africa, will not wait. We must act, to shape and mould the future and leave our imprint on events as they slip past into history.”

 

These words are as appropriate today as they were Fifty three years ago. While Haile Selassie made reference to the Charter establishing the OAU in charting the way to the future of Africa, today we refer to Agenda 2063, a Fifty years comprehensive blue print which outlines the transformational path to the Future we Want for Africa.  The roadmap into the future is clearly spelt out, thanks to those currently in office. What we now need is an effective Africa Union Commission chairperson to midwife the African Renaissance. This is the reason we are here – to map out ways in which Kenya can provide leadership to the African Union Commission. I thank you all most sincerely for rallying behind my candidature which is an affirmation that our country is offering a candidate equal to the task.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Looking into the future, I envision a prosperous continent free of extreme want, united in both values and outlook and that embodies our pride and dignity as Africans; I envision a continent at peace with itself and the rest of the world; a continent that is an equal partner with other players at the global arena and a premier investment destination. I also envision a continent that is at the frontier of knowledge and innovation, rendering new meaning to the words of the Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, that “there’s always something new coming out of Africa”.

 

The contours of this new Africa are now discernible and the dream of an African Renaissance is gradually unfolding. Today, Africa epitomises hope and opportunity; economies are booming, peace prevails in most countries, democratization is taking root, and foreign investors are part of our journey.

This is the trajectory that we need to sustain and fast track moving into the future. My vision for the African Union Commission is, therefore, that of a Secretariat that will harness the current momentum to secure the vision of our founding fathers of a peaceful and prosperous continent. This agenda calls for strategic, dynamic and visionary leadership from the next Chairperson of the AU Commission.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I have extensive experience in tackling foreign affairs and international trade matters, and these are the same issues the Chairperson of AUC is expected to handle. I believe my experience and exposure will enable me replicate the achievements I have made in my country and at the international arena, at the continental level. This experience will serve as an asset to drive the aspirations of the continent as spelled out in Africa’s Agenda 2063. These aspirations: sustainable development; an integrated continent; a peaceful continent; a united continent and global influential player; a people driven, particularly, the youth and women; a politically stable and democratic Africa; and shared values, are issues I have continuously engaged with here at home, in the region and globally. Therefore, I have what it takes to work towards attaining these aspirations.

 

If granted the opportunity to serve as the Chairperson, and without losing focus of all the commitments of Agenda 2063, I will prioritize programs that will accelerate current positive trends in Africa and that will answer to the most urgent needs of the continent in general and women in particular. To mention a few, my priorities will include:

  • Addressing gender inequalities and lowering barriers to women’s participation in productive activities so as to enhance their contribution to Africa’s transformation and socio-economic processes. It is important to acknowledge that important strides have been made in this direction within Africa. According to the 2015 MDG report, the overall representation of women in national parliaments in Africa as of 2015 was 20%, an encouraging improvement of 7% since the 1990s. This, though encouraging is not enough. Parity at a 50:50 ratio is imperative.

 

  • As Chairperson, I will focus on building on this foundation to achieve the 50% representation of women in decision-making that the African Union envisions. While the 30% affirmative action quota agreed upon in Beijing in 1995 remains a target for most countries, we will encourage AU Member States to focus on attaining gender parity which the African Union recommended during its first Summit in 2001.

 

  • Boosting trade, both intra-African and international trade: Africa’s population will more than double by 2050 and may even triple by the end of the century. This demographic growth places a huge strain on the Continent’s limited capacity to feed, educate and employ its people. Trade has great potential to address these challenges by growing economies, generating much needed jobs and improving livelihoods. My efforts in this regard will include pushing for the reform of international trade regime and faster integration within the continent.

 

  • Infrastructure development: The aim will be to ensure seamless connectivity of Africa through land, air and sea. Infrastructure development will include increasing energy production. Today, 621 million Africans still do not have access to modern energy while an estimated 600,000 Africans die each year as a result of household air pollution caused by use of firewood and charcoal for cooking. Moreover, the high cost of energy in Africa has driven up costs for businesses, making many African countries uncompetitive. Most of those affected by this energy deficiency are women.

 

In scaling production of energy, the emphasis will be on the use of the continent’s vast renewable energy resources. This will offer the triple dividend of reducing poverty and inequality, promoting economic prosperity and laying the foundation for a low carbon future.

 

  • Promoting Agricultural development, which is the source of livelihood for the vast majority of our people: Thousands of people remain chronically in want and short of food. My focus will be to improve agricultural productivity and encourage value addition on African commodities while encouraging diversification and industrialization. This will help create jobs for millions of Africans – in farms, in food processing and in distribution boosting our factors of production and in turn, our output.

 

  • Finally, I will prioritize conflict prevention which has contributed greatly to the socio-economic challenges facing many Africa countries. A continent at peace with itself does not only mean the absence of war it calls for upholding of human rights and the rule of law as well as transparent, effective and accountable governance.

 

African Union instruments of good governance including the AU’s Charter on Democracy and the Africa Peer Review Mechanism will be important in this regard. More importantly, protecting the integrity of elections and addressing the root causes of conflict through institutional reforms will be key to preventing conflict in Africa. There is much promise for Africa. United and in solidarity, African people can achieve the vision of peace and prosperity for all.

 

The critical place of women in the development of Africa, is encapsulated in the continent’s sixth aspiration: “An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of the African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.” The aim of this aspiration is to have inclusive development by involving women, men, youth and children without any form of discrimination, in political, social and economic decision making and other aspects of progressive leadership. I will ensure that the youth are empowered to realize their potential, and at the same time women’s participation in all spheres.

 

Let me conclude with a reflection from the wisdom of a woman who we all hold dear and remember fondly. Professor Wangari Maathai observed, as I do now, “I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it.”  I am very thankful that I am not alone on this journey. I have each and every one of you.

Let us remain unbowed as we move and work together to create the Africa we want for ourselves, our children and our future generations.

 

Thank you

Kenya, Norway Discuss Development in Energy Production

By Andrew Kuria
Nairobi, Wednesday, October 26, 2016 (MFA Press) — Government officials from Kenya and Norway today discussed financial and economic development in the country and the region.
Also featuring in the discussion was energy production, investment, distribution of oil resources and regional peace with specific emphasis on South Sudan and Somalia.
Cabinet Secretaries, Charles Keter (Energy and Petroleum ) and Henry Rotich (National Treasury) held a working lunch with visiting Norway Minister for Foreign Affairs Hon. Borge Brende at Norfolk Hotel Nairobi.
Kenya was in 2014 admitted as a beneficiary of Norway-driven Oil for Development program. The program involves countries willing to learn from Norway experience in oil and gas management.
The Programme has a yearly budget of 300 million Krone and currently cooperates with 11 countries, Kenya been newest member. The programme will be implemented in Kenya from January 2017 for a period of 5 years.
Hon Brende is in the country for three-day official visit and is expected to meet his Foreign Affairs Counterpart Amb. Amina Mohamed tomorrow.
Present during the meeting was Amb. Muhindi representing P.S. Foreign Affairs, Beatrice Karago, Director Europe and Commonwealth and Dolphine Ndeda Desk officer for Norway at the Ministry.

Joint Statement by Kenya and Japan on the Occasion of the State Visit by Prime Minister H.E. Shinzo Abe

  1. E. Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, paid a state visit to Kenya from 26 to 28 August, 2016 at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya.
  1. E. Prime Minister Abe congratulated H.E. President Kenyatta for the successful hosting of the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit. The Prime Minister underscored that hosting the first TICAD summit in Africa affirmed Kenya’s steadfast commitment to the TICAD principles of African ownership and international partnership. President Kenyatta thanked Prime Minister Abe for the overwhelming support and goodwill extended to Kenya in hosting the Summit and stressed that the honour demonstrated Kenya’s strong resolve to deepen its enduring cooperation with Japan and further solidify its position as the model of cooperation between Japan and Africa.
  1. The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the long-standing cordial and friendly bilateral relations existing between the two countries and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen these relations based on universal values including democracy, the rule of law, good governance, and free, fair and open markets. The two leaders welcomed the exchange of high level visits between both countries and committed to further strengthen bilateral dialogue at all levels.
  1. Prime Minister Abe hailed the Government of Kenya’s long-term economic blueprint, the “Vision 2030” and reiterated his intention to support Kenya’s economic transformation efforts. President Kenyatta expressed gratitude for the excellent economic cooperation existing between the two countries. The President particularly thanked the Government of Japan for its support in the development of geothermal power which has positioned Kenya as a global leader in green energy. Prime Minister Abe announced that Government of Japan will further strengthen its comprehensive support for Ol Karia geothermal power development projects through ODA loan and technical cooperation.
  1. President Kenyatta further applauded the Government of Japan for continued support in improving capacity and efficiency of the Mombasa Port which is the gateway to Eastern and Central Africa. The two leaders recognised the need of the joint sustainable development of the Mombasa (Dongo Kundu) Special Economic Zone. They confirmed their commitment to pursue and realize this imperative based on the Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments signed on 28 August 2016 in Nairobi.
  1. Prime Minister Abe appreciated the leadership role Kenya continues to play in championing African economic integration especially through the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) Initiative. The two leaders noted that these initiatives are building blocks towards creation of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
  1. The two leaders emphasized the need to improve infrastructure connectivity within the East African region, and the African continent as a whole. They welcomed the progress in bilateral cooperation on the development of the Northern Corridor. President Kenyatta thanked the Government of Japan for its continued partnership in connecting Kenya with the rest of Africa, and invited investments from Japan in the development of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia (LAPSSET) development corridor. The two leaders also confirmed that both governments will enhance cooperation in urban development.
  1. The two leaders stressed the importance of investing in quality infrastructure to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth. President Kenyatta welcomed Japan’s key role in infrastructure development in Kenya in the areas of transport, energy, water irrigation and ICT.
  1. President Kenyatta recalled the roundtable discussion with over ninety Japanese business executives who called on him in August, 2015 to exchange views on prospects of furthering their engagements in Kenya. President Kenyatta expressed appreciation of the presence of top level Japanese CEOs accompanying Prime Minister Abe during his visit. President Kenyatta also expressed confidence that their visit would translate into increased Japanese investments in Kenya and the region.
  1. The two leaders committed to increasing their utmost efforts to promote trade and investment between Japan and Kenya and in this context, welcomed the signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Republic of Kenya for the Promotion and Protection of Investment and looked forward to the commencement of formal negotiations towards concluding an agreement on avoidance of double taxation to further enhance investments and economic exchanges between the two countries.
  1. The two leaders acknowledged that direct air connectivity between Kenya and Japan can play a key role in the promotion of trade, investment and tourism. They recognised the need of a framework in the future to allow for operation of direct flights between the two countries. President Kenyatta appealed to Japan to take cognisance of the improved security environment in Kenya and requested Japan to revise its travel advisory in order to promote Japanese tourism and business travel to Kenya.
  1. The two leaders emphasized the importance of developing infrastructure for water storage and irrigation to build resilient agricultural production systems for improved livelihoods in order to adapt to the impact of climate change and to realize food security, better nutrition and sustainable agriculture. They stressed the need to continue supporting progressive increase of irrigated agricultural production through technical cooperation. The two leaders further underscored the importance of encouraging public private partnership, in areas of crop, livestock, fisheries and blue economy value chains.
  1. Prime Minister Abe welcomed the Government of Kenya’s efforts towards the full realization of universal health coverage (UHC) by making full use of the UHC policy loan and assistance for human resource development, which makes Kenya the leading model in this area in Africa. President Kenyatta welcomed Japan’s cooperation to assist Kenya build resilient health systems and strengthen its preparedness for and response to future disease outbreaks and other public health emergencies and disasters.
  1. The two leaders recalled the fruitful discussions between Kenya and Japan on the need to support maritime resources development. President Kenyatta underscored the importance Kenya attaches to the development of the blue economy. The two leaders noted that sustainable development of living marine resources should be based on a scientific and healthy ecosystem approach. They also emphasized that research in the marine environment should guide exploitation of both the living and non-living marine resources. Prime Minister Abe expressed Japan’s willingness to support Kenya’s efforts to develop its blue economy.
  1. The two leaders recognized that people-to-people exchange, human resource development and job creation for young people is of utmost importance. President Kenyatta expressed his gratitude for Japan’s long standing support in the training of young Kenyan professionals in industrial work skills, business education and vocational and technical training and noted that the programmes have had a positive impact on Kenya’s industrialization agenda. The two leaders recognised the importance of building capacity in legal affairs, including in the emerging areas related to economy, development and environment. The two leaders affirmed to further promote vocational training as well as exchange programmes such as Sport for Tomorrow. The two leaders further acknowledged the need to foster cultural exchange between the two countries. In this regard, the two leaders lauded the success of the African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative).
  1. Prime Minister Abe announced that Japan will extend grant aid for economic and social development amounting to one billion Yen. President Kenyatta welcomed the assistance and thanked the Prime Minister and the people of Japan for their continued support to Kenya’s development.
  1. The two leaders recognized the importance of the empowerment of women and the need to strengthen cooperation in this area, including efforts through conferences such as the World Assembly for Women (WAW).
  1. On global issues, the two leaders condemned in the strongest terms recent attacks, atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by terrorist organizations. They renewed their commitment to fight against terrorism and address root causes of violent extremism and radicalization. President Kenyatta appreciated the continued support from the Government of Japan for countering violent extremism through UNDP and expressed hope for strengthening cooperation in the relevant area particularly as Kenya develops and implements a national disengagement and rehabilitation programme for returning foreign terrorist fighters and convicts. President Kenyatta further appreciated Japan’s commitment to help strengthen Africa’s counter-terrorism capacity by extending assistance of one-hundred and twenty million US dollars including human resource development of thirty thousand people in three years, announced at the open debate of the UN Security Council on peace-building in Africa on 28 July 2016.
  1. The two leaders shared the recognition that the reform of the Security Council, including the expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories, should be expeditiously advanced to make it more representative, effective, and legitimate and to further strengthen the credibility of the United Nations. In this regard, they expressed their determination to enhance their cooperation. They also emphasized the importance of moving the process forward, including through increased interactions and consultations. The two leaders acknowledged the value of continued dialogue among the interested groups to bridge divergent positions and to comprehensively address all the elements of the Security Council reforms.
  1. The two leaders exchanged views on the wider security environment in the world, especially in Horn of Africa and East Asia. They underscored that observance of international law is a cornerstone for maintaining peace and stability of the world. Prime Minister Abe briefed President Kenyatta on Japan’s policy of “Proactive Contribution to Peace” based on the principle of international cooperation, including the “Legislation for Peace and Security”,  which aims to enhance Japan’s contribution to global peace, stability and prosperity. The President welcomed Japan’s new security policy in support of peace and expressed his appreciation for Japan’s efforts. The President further expressed the hope that through this policy Japan will engage more actively towards resolving conflicts in Africa. President Kenyatta thanked Japan for its role in anti-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia. The two leaders reaffirmed their intention to deepen cooperation in the field of peace building, especially through Japan’s support for the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya and through United Nations Project for African Rapid Deployment of Engineering Capabilities (ARDEC).
  1. Prime Minister Abe explained Japan’s position on the issues related to the situation in the East and South China Sea. President Kenyatta stated that Kenya respects Japan’s position on maritime security. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a maritime order based upon principles of international law, including those reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The two leaders recognized the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight as well as dispute resolution by peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including UNCLOS.
  1. The two leaders further recognized the importance of addressing challenges to maritime safety, including piracy, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and other illegal activities. They decided to work together to promote sustainable use of fishery resources, including cetaceans and to cooperate closely in the International Whaling Commission and other fora. President Kenyatta informed Prime Minister Abe that Kenya is at an advanced stage of establishing a coast guard service, and that Kenya welcomes the Government of Japan to support these efforts through the provision of equipment and training.
  1. The two leaders noted with concern the serious danger posed by poaching     and illicit trade of wildlife and wildlife products on African biodiversity, in particular ivory and rhino horn. In this regard, the two leaders resolved to seek ways to enhance conservation and management of Africa’s endangered species, including by combating illicit trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  1. The two leaders noted that the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) scheduled to be held in Ecuador from 17-20 October, 2016 provides a unique opportunity of realizing a New Urban Agenda, to complement efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this regard, the two leaders recognised important role of UN-Habitat in coordinating implementation of the New Urban Agenda.
  1. Prime Minister Abe briefed President Kenyatta on the escalation of tensions in the region, in particular the Korean Peninsula and Japan’s efforts to resolve outstanding concerns including nuclear, missile and abductions issues. President Kenyatta expressed his support for the Prime Minister’s efforts to pursue peaceful solution to those issues. The two leaders underlined the need to maintain peace, security and stability in the region, including by fully implementing the relevant UN Security Council resolutions in particular Resolution 2270. The two leaders urged North Korea to refrain from acts that may threaten the security of its neighbours and to fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions and other international commitments.
  1. The two leaders acknowledged the need to enhance their cooperation to address global challenges such as implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, climate change and refugee crisis. They reaffirmed their commitment to achieving a world free of nuclear weapons and successful outcomes in the 2020 Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference.
  1. Finally, Prime Minister Abe expressed his appreciation to President Kenyatta and the Government of Kenya for the warm hospitality accorded to him. President Kenyatta congratulated Prime Minister Abe and Japan on winning the bid and wished them success in hosting the 2020 games Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Nairobi, 28 August, 2016

Kenya Lobbies for CS Amina Mohamed at Comesa Summit

By Andrew Kuria

Antananarivo, Madagascar, Wednesday October 19, 2016 (MFA Press) — The 19th summit of Comesa heads of states and Governments came to close on October 19, 2016 at Antananarivo, Madagascar.

In a joint communique issued at the end, the Summit endorsed the candidature of Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Amb. Amina Mohamed for the position of African Union Commission Chairperson.

The summit urged members who have not ratified the COMESA, EAC, SADC Tripartite free trade area TFTA to do so to enable full implementation.

The members appreciated the extension by U.S. Government, of Africa growth and opportunity act AGOA to 2025.

The summit also endorsed Council of Ministers decision to extend sugar safeguards for Kenya by two more years.

During the Summit President Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar took over as the new Chairperson.

Below is the Communique:

COMESA Summit-Communique-19.10.16

CS Amina Mohamed Candidature for AUC Chairperson Position Resonates Well Among Leaders

LOME, Togo, October 16, 2016 – Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohamed’s candidature for the position of the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson has been received positively by African leaders.

In an interview in Lome, Togo, on the sidelines of  African Union Extraordinary Summit on Maritime Security and Safety and Development, CS Amina said Kenya was considered a good member of the African community of nations and that is why “there was a lot of receptiveness to our candidature”.

She was quick to add however that AU Commission Chairperson was an elective office and required energy and commitment to acquire support from across the regions to win.

“And that is why it was important for the President to have discussions with the leaders on the candidature even though he had sent out letters to them,” the CS said, adding that the leaders discussed not only her candidature but also other bilateral issues of mutual importance.

President Uhuru Kenyatta separately held bilateral talks with eight Heads of State and Government to drum up support for Amina and the leaders indicated their receptiveness to Kenya’s candidature for the top post of the AU Commission.
The leaders included Presidents Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta (Mali), Alpha Condé (Guinea), John Dramani Mahama (Ghana) and Idriss Déby (Chad) who is also the Chairman of AU. Others were Presidents Alassane Ouattara (Ivory Coast), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo Brazaville) and Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal of Algeria.

The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary said she was vying for the position because it was time for Kenya to provide a candidate that will unite the continent.

“My credentials, especially in building consensus and carrying out reforms, are critical in bringing everybody together,” Amb. Amina said.

Amb. Amina’s credentials include being the first woman to lead the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kenya. She was elected President of UNCTAD 14 for the next 4 years, was the Chairperson of the historic WTO 10th Ministerial Conference and Co-Chairperson of the Ministerial segment of the first TICAD Summit to held in Africa.

Amb. Amina is the first woman to have chaired the three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO.

She has served as President of the Conference on Disarmament, and the first African and the first female Chairperson of the Council of the International Organisation for Migration. In 2010, Amb. Amina was elected President of the U.N. International Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna, Austria for a two year period. In 2011, she was appointed by the UN Secretary General as U.N. Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP).

CS Amina Mohamed Outlines Her Vision for AUC Chairperson

Speech by Amb. (Dr.) Amina C. Mohamed, EGH, CAC, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs During Dinner Hosted by H.E. William Ruto, the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya in Honour of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Comesa Member Countries, Antananarivo, October 17, 2016

Your Excellency, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya
Hon. Colleague Ministers,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am truly honoured by your presence and I thank you most sincerely for accepting our invitation.

We invited you for dinner to interact and share with you as colleagues and to inform you of my decision to accept the nomination by the Government of Kenya to contest for the seat of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and to seek your support for my candidature.

The African Union Commission, discharges the critical responsibility of driving the African integration and development agenda by developing clear goals and strategies. In many respects, this is a process to which Kenya has dedicated time and conscious effort for many years. I have done the same for all my working life. My decision to accept the nomination has
therefore been inspired by my desire to pursue an agenda that I believe in and conversant with.

In seeking your support, I am fully aware of the journey we have travelled as a continent in the quest for integration and development. This journey begun with the gruesome struggle against colonialism which culminated in the signing of the Charter establishing the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on 25 May 1963, in Addis Ababa. In 2002 the OAU transformed into the African Union after successfully completing the process of the decolonization of Africa. We now need to engage a high gear for economic emancipation and progress in the light of the many opportunities and new challenges.

In seeking your support therefore, I am seeking your mandate to build on the solid foundation that has been laid by the hard work of our people.

Without doubt, the last 53 years in Africa have been a proud chapter of resilience, creative energy and determination and I have no illusions about the solemnity of the responsibility of AUC and its meaning to present and future generations of Africans.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The roadmap into the future of Africa is clearly spelt out in Agenda 2063 which is our shared framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development. The Agenda is comprehensive, comprising seven aspirations from which are derived, as you are aware, 18 goals which are further expanded into 44 priority areas and finally expressed as 161 different national-level targets. The work of the AUC is therefore cut out and as a priority involves implementation of Agenda 2063.

As chairperson, and without losing focus of all the commitments of Agenda 2063, I will begin by prioritizing programs. In addition to the 12 flagship projects already cited as priorities in the execution of Agenda 2063, I will begin by selecting other programs that have the greatest potential in answering to the urgent needs of the continent.

In this regard, the first priority will be industrialization. Industrialization offers the best way to accelerate poverty reduction and generate the large number of jobs needed to cater for the growing numbers of youth in the continent. It is for this reason that Agenda 2063 adopts a collective vision and road map to speed-up actions to transform, grow and industrialize our
economies through beneficiation and value addition of natural resources.

Secondly, I would prioritize trade which is a renowned driver of economic development. African countries have not benefited from trade mainly because our external trade volumes are low, the range of tradable commodities is limited and market destinations are not well-diversified.

To improve Africa’s trade, the focus is to deepen integration towards the establishment of the Continental Free Trade Area by end of 2017 and to step up the push for a fair international trade regime. Reforming the international trade regime is a matter I fully comprehend having chaired the three most important bodies of the World Trade Organization; namely the Trade Policy Body, the Dispute Settlement Body and the Governing General Council of the WTO. During this period, I championed trade
reforms that would improve market access for developing countries, particularly in Africa.

I also had the honour to chair the WTO 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi last year. This conference concluded with the outlawing of export subsidies and the disciplining of export credit and food aid. This was a major breakthrough for countries that rely heavily on agriculture for income and jobs such as African countries.

We pursued the same agenda during the UNCTAD 14 Conference which I chaired in Nairobi in July this year. I will be serving as president of  UNCTAD for the next four years and this presents an ideal opportunity to mainstream Africa’s trade agenda in the international arena.

The third priority would be addressing the impact of climate change. Many African countries are highly vulnerable to climate variability and change, more particularly because of over dependence on climate sensitive economic sectors and low adaptive capacity. In many parts of Africa the impact of climate change including drought, floods and earthquakes is already severely undermining livelihoods. This underlines the urgent need for effective actions especially on building the resilience of vulnerable
communities.

I fully understand the intricacies of environmental conservation having worked for three years from 2011 as the UN Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was during my tenure that UNEP was upgraded from a 58 member governing body to the Universal Environment Assembly.

My experience in environmental conservation issues and negotiations will be serviceable in pushing Africa’s environmental agenda forward. I would also prioritize conflict prevention which has contributed more than any other factor to our socio-economic malaise and the suffering of our people. The focus will be on strengthening the African Peace and  Security Architecture – comprising the Peace and Security Council, the Panel of the Wise, the Continental Early Warning System and the African Standby Force which are the veritable mechanisms for the prevention, management and
resolution of conflicts in Africa.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Beyond prioritization, I will also focus on other key areas including:
1) Effecting an integrated approach in the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach will offer Africa a unique opportunity to achieve inclusive, transformative and sustainable development. Africa formulated a Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda which greatly influenced the work of the Open Working Group on the SDGs.

2) Developing mechanisms for leveraging the unique strengthens of different African countries. This will involve developing approaches through which Africa as a whole and the individual economies can leverage their respective cost advantages, natural and human resources to successfully integrate into the global value chains.

3) Finally, I will focus on building institutional capacity. This will include enhancing the institutional capacity of the African Union Commission and other organs of the Union as well as the Regional Economic Communities, which are the building blocks of the African Union.

The successful implementation of Agenda 2063 will no doubt be challenging. I am convinced, however, that we can and we will succeed. I conclude with the words of Robert Sobukwe and I quote: ‘The wheel of progress revolves relentlessly and all nations
of the world take their turn at the field-glass of human destiny.’
Thank you.

Kenya Leads in Implementation of World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

Kenya is committed to the full implementation of the WHO Framework on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The Kenyan delegation to the ongoing WHO African Regional Preparatory Consultative Meeting for the 7th Convention of Parties has reaffirmed the country’s resolve to advance the course for the FCTC.
Addressing delegates of 47 African countries attending the meeting in Algiers, Algeria the Head of the Kenyan Delegation Amb Moi Lemoshira said “Kenya is fully committed to the WHO FCTC, its guidelines and protocols and has made significant progress through enactment of the Tobacco Control Act in 2007, gazette of the Tobacco Control Regulations in 2015, ban on advertisement of tobacco products and use of pictorial on cigarette packs in July 2016.”During the meeting Kenya’s experiences in dealing with illicit trade were assessed as best practices for other countries within and beyond Africa. Addressing the delegates the WHO Africa Regional Adviser for Tobacco Control Dr. Ouma A. Ogwell commended Kenya for being a point of reference for other countries noting that 34 foreign delegations have visited Kenya in the recent past to learn from the successes in the implementation of controls.

In his presentation of the key recommendations in the Kenya Country Position Paper Amb. Lemoshira called for fast-tracking of the ratification of the Protocol to Eliminate Trade in Tobacco Products, increased support to African countries for the implementation for WHO FCTC and support towards a more independent and stronger WHO FCTC Secretariat.

Kenya’s participation in the Algiers WHO AFRO Pre-COP7 is part of the Government’s efforts to step up the country’s Global Health Diplomacy. The meeting co-hosted by Algeria and WHO runs from October 10-13, 2016.
Kenya’s team at the meeting include Ms. Dorcas Kiptui (Head of Tobacco Control-Health), Mr. Caxton Ngeywo (KRA), Dr. Muriira Karau (KEBS), Hon. Robert Pukose and Hon. Mwiga Ngunga (Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, among other representatives of technical Departments.
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