Kenya has urged development partners to re-align their partnership model with the African Union Agenda 2063.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Administrative Secretary Ababu Namwamba said Africa is in the process of implementing the Global Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063, both of which are geared towards inclusive and sustainable development of the continent, hence the need for the re-alignment. He was addressing the 2nd Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference at the Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internationale in Rome, Italy.
Ababu was received on arrival at the Ministero by the Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero Milanese. Noting that the conference was happening in Nelson Mandela’s centenary year, CAS Ababu said Africa was “in renaissance mode and strategically positioned as the destination of choice for investment capital and a robust arena for trade and not merely a source of raw commodities”.
He said while challenges remain, including low tax to GDP ratio averaging 15 per cent that is way below the OECD average of 34 per cent; low growth rates averaging 2-3 per cent compared to the global agenda 2030 minimum threshold of 7 per cent necessary for sustainable development; and slow translation of growth into shared prosperity which underlies gross inequalities, Africa was still replete with opportunities.
“The vision of integrating the continent’s 1.2 billion people is firmly on track as exemplified by measures like the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA); Africa’s mega youth bulge bears unlimited possibilities for growth if appropriately harnessed; the continent is on a supremely positive trajectory of democratisation and stabilisation as evidenced by multiple peaceful political transitions, the Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement and the South Sudan peace deal and the determination to silence all guns by 2020; the drive for inclusivity, with women and youth taking more and more prominent roles, a good example being the election of Amb. Sale Work Zewde as the first female president of Ethiopia”, the CAS noted.
Ababu further stated that Kenya was happy with Italian investments in the country through firms like ENI and ENEL, and welcomed even more investors to come in. He also extended an invitation to the ministers present to Kenya’s historic Sustainable Blue Economy Conference scheduled for Nairobi on 26-28 November, 2018.
The CAS urged Italy to open her markets to Kenyan and African products and to support African growth as “the most sustainable approach to stemming the stream of immigrants”, concluding that shared prosperity was the guarantor of global stability. “Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), Caesar is reported by Plutarch to have declared after his victory in the battle of Zela in 47BC. Today, in 2018AD may we declare that we have come, seen and conquered all barriers to stronger ties and the shared prosperity of the peoples of Italy and Africa. Viva Italia. Viva Africa”, he concluded.
The conference offered opportunity for exchange of views between Foreign Affairs ministers, high level representatives of major international organizations and Italian business, academia and civil society, creating a framework for high level dialogue and partnership. It represented the highest level of structured framework of renewed and strengthened cooperation between Italy and Africa, launched during the first Italy-Africa Conference held in May 2016.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella addressed the opening ceremony while the plenary session was opened by Enzo Moavero Milanese, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Kwesi Quartey, African Union Commission Deputy Chairperson Sergio Mattarella noted that the meeting confirms Italy’s attention to ongoing developments on the African continent and Italy’s interest in strengthening partnership with African countries.
“Italy stands by Africa and is ready to hold hands with you across the Mediterranean”, President Mattarella said.
The Conference was officially closed by Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy.