EU is Kenya’s key partner in trade, investment – Uhuru

Statement by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the opening ceremony of the 10th Edition of European Development Dayz in Brussels, Belgium on June 15th, 2016

 

Your Excellency, Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission,

Excellencies Heads of State and Government present,

Your Excellency, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,

 

Your Excellency, Mr. Jim Yong Kim, President World Bank Group,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me begin by thanking the European Union, the Government and people of Belgium for the hospitality and reception accorded me and my delegation since our arrival in Brussels, this beautiful and historic city.

 

I am deeply honoured to join you today for the opening ceremony of the 2016 European Development Days, a forum that brings the development community together to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

 

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I consider this Year’s theme “Sustainable Development Goals in Action: Our World our Future” extraordinarily timely, coming, as it does, in the first year after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Kenya was honored to have co-chaired the negotiation process leading to the adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs).

 

This meeting allows leaders an early opportunity to reflect on how international cooperation can be strengthened to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

 

This Tenth Edition of European Development Days and its theme are proof of the EU’s leading role, and its commitment to advancing global development.

 

Given that EU development assistance to developing countries accounts for more than half of total global development aid, that is as it should be.

 

And let me add that Kenya, and our partners in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Partnership Group, greatly value the EU as a key partner in trade and investment.

 

Kenya has embraced the post-2015 framework to scale up efforts to address the challenges of poverty, exclusion and sustainability.

 

We have aligned the SDGs with our national development blueprint, our Vision 2030, which aims to transform Kenya into a globally competitive middle income country by 2030, and to provide a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.

 

Each of the 17 goals has been mapped to Vision 2030 and specific flagship projects are being implemented to achieve both Vision 2030 and SDGs goals.

 

We, are implementing a new constitution, promulgated in 2010, which has greatly enlarged the democratic space and increased civil liberties.

 

Our overarching objective is to secure for our people the freedom and prosperity that are their birthrights.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I applaud the EU leadership in defining an ambitious global transformation agenda for solidarity and responsibility, so that each of us, whatever our circumstances, can look forward to a future in which present inequalities are eased, our environment is secured, and basic freedoms are protected.

 

That is why I raise my voice in support of the present consultations between EU and ACP member states.

 

Those discussions promise to revitalize the Cotonou Partnership Agreement. Through this agreement and those that preceded it over the past 40 years, the EU has dispensed, millions of Euros towards development cooperation in ACP countries.

 

This support continues to lift millions of people out of poverty.

Kenya as a member of the ACP Group is committed to ensuring that ACP remains a unitary entity and a multilateral platform for the promotion of trade and developmental interests of developing countries.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In addition to development assistance, the two partners have continuously engaged on trade promotion and integration of ACP countries into the multilateral trading system.

 

Through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), the ACP and EU partners have established a more comprehensive trade agreement that captures the trading preferences of both sides.

 

We however, remain concerned about the slow pace of removal of agricultural subsidies and export competition.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa’s greatest potential is our people. During the last two decades a young middle class has emerged in most of the countries — it has grown in number, affluence and influence.

 

The resultant increase in consumption has pushed domestic demand to unprecedented levels, creating a greater scope for increased trade and investment.

 

At the same time, the absolute amount of the ACP goods reaching EU markets has dramatically increased both in value and volume as a result of the non-reciprocal market access regime.

 

There is opportunity here to sell processed, rather than raw goods, which would enable African countries grow our infant industries and in the process generate jobs for our young people.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Africa-EU Joint Strategy upgraded Africa’s relationship with the European Union to a new strategic level with a strengthened political partnership and enhanced cooperation at all levels.

 

It is a partnership based on a Euro-African Consensus on values, common interests and strategic objectives aimed at bridging the development divide between Africa and Europe through the strengthening of economic cooperation and the promotion of sustainable development.

 

We are here today to bring a message of hope for a better future in our relations. We are ready to speak about the hurdles and challenges that have contributed to the low uptake of the EDF package in some of our member states.

 

We call for a review of some of the conditionalities especially those that limit the abilities of micro-finance institutions to extend affordable loans for startups and SMEs.

 

We are keen to step out of the historical roles that our economies have played as suppliers of commodities and raw mineral resources.

 

I invite European companies to invest in We have a supportive business environment and a sophisticated financial, legal and physical infrastructure. I welcome you all to come and share in our exciting development journey.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 2030 Agenda recognizes ending poverty in all its forms everywhere as its overarching goal and recognizes the strong linkages between sustainable development and peace and security.

 

This therefore calls for building peaceful and inclusive societies.

The goals commit us to be responsible global citizens caring for our planet’s environment to which all life depends.

 

Kenya is proud to be associated with the success of COP21, which marked a turning point in our resolve to arrest the negative impacts of global warming and climate change.

 

I encourage all countries to honour the commitments that we made in Paris for the survival of our planet and future generations.

 

We are playing our part in Kenya and take pride in hosting the United Nations Environment Program. We have deliberately harnessed clean energy to power our economy.

 

Fifty percent of installed power capacity of about 2300MW is clean energy comprising a mix of hydro, solar and geothermal power.

With the coming on stream of our next geothermal plant early next year our clean energy mix will exceed 60 percent.

 

In addition, Kenya has put in place a wide range of policies to reduce environmental degradation and support wildlife conservation. In an effort to curb poaching and wildlife trade we burnt 105 tonnes of elephantivory and 5 tonnes of rhino horn at the end of April.

 

We are working with other like-minded countries to advocate for international policies that will make it uneconomical to trade in ivory and other wildlife products.

 

We recognize the contribution of the European Commission in promoting global awareness and development of climate change resilient policies. The second session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly was held in Nairobi in May and it adopted 25 resolutions that related to the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the operations of.

 

These included resolutions on illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. In this respect, we applaud the European Union’s contribution of USD 500,000 towards this process.

 

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

International peace and security continues to face daunting challenges from the complex conflicts in the Middle East and in some parts of Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes Region, Horn of Africa and in the Saleh.

 

In addition, terrorism and violent extremism has assumed global proportions. We must collectively address the radicalization of the youth as the pipeline for global terror and its financing channels.

The situation in Somalia remains of major concern to us.

 

The Somali crisis has not only resulted in security challenges to Kenya but also led to a huge burden of hosting large populations of refugees uprooted from their communities by the conflict for a period of more than twenty years.

 

The situation has been worsened by the emergence of Al-Shabaab Terrorist group that has infiltrated the refugee camps in As a result of these developments, Kenya has now resolved to close Dadaab camp and repatriate the refugees back to their countries of origin.

 

Kenya is one of AMISOM’s troop contributing countries and through joint military campaigns by AMISOM, the Somali National Army and international partners, significant gains have been realized in state building, with large areas previously under Al Shabaab control having been liberated.

 

I commend the European Union for the support extended towards the stabilization of Somalia and particularly to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

 

We remain committed to working together with the EU and other international partners to provide the necessary support to the Federal Republic of Somalia to achieve peace and stability and we count on your support in this endeavours.

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