- President Kenyatta tells G7 to enhance partnership with Africa in addressing global challenges
- Italian Prime Minister Gentiloni acknowledges President Kenyatta’s sentiments and calls for dialogue with Africa
- US President Donald Trump assures of his support to the G7’s resolutions on Africa, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau speaks on partnering with Africa on tech projects in health
- Chancellor Merkel invites a select group of Africans – Kenya included – to the G20 Summit in Hamburg in July to continue the dialogue
- Japanese Shinzo Abe commits to channel support to Africa through TICAD framework
TAORMINA, Italy, 27 May 2017 (PSCU) – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Group of Seven (G7) most industrialised countries in the world to enhance its collaboration with Africa to address global challenges including poverty, immigration, climate change and terrorism.
President Kenyatta said Africa is a vital partner in solving the world’s most pressing challenges to pave the way to seize opportunities that beckon across the continent.
“This is the time to put Africa’s aspirations at the heart of your plans. A freer, more prosperous Africa is a vital partner in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems: poverty, immigration, climate change, terrorism,” President Kenyatta told the G7.
The President was addressing the Africa Outreach session at the G7 Summit in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday where he spoke on the “opportunities and challenges brought about by innovation as a factor of economic growth and development in the African continent”.
He pointed out that Africa’s transformation is contingent on innovation in which Kenya is a celebrated pioneer in the continent, especially in ICT.
“That’s why we have strengthened connectivity through the Smart Africa initiative, putting ICT at the centre of our development agenda. That’s why the continent is developing an ICT policy and infrastructure to support one seamless digital market, to serve a billion people,” President Kenyatta said.
Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni acknowledged President Kenyatta’s sentiments and emphasised the importance of dialogue with Africa and the need for G7 to continue to be involved in trade and aid.
US President Donald Trump assured of his support to the G7’s resolutions on Africa while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on partnering with Africa on tech projects in health where, he said, real progress can be made.
Speaking during the session, which was highly interactive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for closer cooperation with African countries to promote innovation and tech transfer – key being seeking to leapfrog solutions such as mobile telephony has done.
Chancellor Merkel also invited a select group of Africans – Kenya included – to the G20 Summit to be held in Hamburg in July to continue the dialogue.
Italy and France – represented by newly elected President Emmanuel Macron – pledged great work to expand trade to reduce dependency while continuing aid to vulnerable countries.
Japan, through Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, committed to channelling support to Africa through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) framework, especially in the areas of trade, infrastructure and investment.
Highlighting Kenya’s achievement in ICT, President Kenyatta said the country’s proven enthusiasm in innovation has enriched democracy and development.
“ In turn, the world has learned to appreciate the energy and innovation of our young people, the spear-point of our development strategy,” President Kenyatta said.
He added: “That energy and innovation, combined with a strong ICT backbone, with infrastructure, and with an open regulatory and policy environment, has unleashed creative solutions, transforming lives.”
President Kenyatta gave the example of M-Farm – a mobile platform – as one of the outstanding Kenyan innovations where just with the touch of a button, farmers can find prevailing prices for their produce.
He cited Ushahidi, a ground-breaking interactive mapping tool now used across the world to crowd-source information in elections and emergencies, as another Kenyan great innovation.
“And then, of course, there is M-pesa, the mobile money platform that has brought financial access to millions who were left out of the traditional banking sector: these days, nine in every ten Kenyans access financial services through it,” President Kenyatta pointed out.
The President said these innovations and others have made Kenya dynamic, resilient, investor-friendly and the hub of East and Central Africa.
The Kenyan Head of State said the Internet and the mobile phone have diffused power from states to networks and citizens.
“We are a democracy in a tough neighbourhood: our success will enlarge liberty; it will push back extremists bent on destroying democracy, and it will give many millions of our people an even larger stake in a stable global order,” President Kenyatta said.
The President also spoke against terrorism citing the recent attack in Manchester and expressed the need for Africa’s partnership and solidarity with G-7 countries to fight the vice.
On trade, President Kenyatta said Africa is the world’s new frontier for trade and investment with current statistics indicating that the continent will have business opportunities worth $5.6 trillion by 2025.
“He pointed out that there is a rising tide across the continent, bringing with it new national and transnational infrastructure; a better-educated labour force; a youthful, dynamic population; a diffusion of technology; and – most important – the true democratisation of the continent.
“A rising tide lifts every boat. We now see the emergence of business clusters that stimulate innovation, the creation of new businesses, and real growth,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta – who was later due to travel back to Kenya after the landmark address attended by the seven leaders of the world’s most industrialised countries – told the G7 it will find, as others have, that African markets are well worth their interest.