President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African leaders to prioritise and fast-track integration processes for the continent to develop quicker.
The President said the current leaders need to learn from founding fathers and unite the people in order to achieve this goal.
President Kenyatta further called for the removal of all systemic barriers that hinder the blossoming of people-to-people relations in Africa.
“We need to build on the warm relations between our governments and include our populations so as to foster interactions,” he said.
President Kenyatta said that for Africa to defeat ignorance, diseases and poverty, challenges that have suppressed the continent for decades must be addressed by a united force.
“Our people should be [allowed] to travel throughout their continent freely without any hindrances. We are all brothers and sisters with a common heritage,” he said.
He spoke on Saturday evening at the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a State dinner hosted in his honour by Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.
While commending the Ethiopian leaders for the progress in their country, Mr Kenyatta said Kenya was keen on participating in the planned regeneration of Addis Ababa into a modern African city.
“Our African capitals belong to all of us. Addis Ababa belongs to Kenyans just like Nairobi belongs to Ethiopians. We therefore need to partner in the transformation our cities,” he said.
“It doesn’t make any sense for fellow Africans to keep spending our hard earned money in other people’s countries when we can develop our cities to world class standards. Kenya will participate in the modernisation of Addis Ababa by sending a team of entrepreneurs.”
PM Ahmed thanked President Kenyatta for agreeing to be part of the Addis Ababa modernisation project and said all countries in East Africa should work on regenerating their capitals.
While recalling the hospitality she enjoyed in Nairobi while serving at the United Nations before assuming her current position, President Zewde thanked President Kenyatta and Mr Ahmed for rekindling the countries’ relations.
Ms Zwede termed Kenya Ethiopia’s true friend, citing visa-free travel for Ethiopian citizens as a true demonstration of this.
Earlier on Saturday, President Kenyatta accompanied the Prime Minister to the opening of Debre Birhan Industrial Park in the Amhara region during celebrations to mark the Victory of Adwa.
Every March 1, Ethiopians celebrate the defeat of the colonial Italian forces in 1896, by warriors led by Emperor Menelik II, near the town of Adwa in the Tigray region.
The park, built on 1,100 hectares of land at $75 million, will help create jobs for about 1,000 Ethiopians.
Ethiopia is planning five similar installations to increase the number of industrial parks to 30, the goal being to make the country a manufacturing hub and improve the lower-middle-income economy by 2025.
source: Sunday Nation