Partner with Africa for solutions, not impose them – Uhuru to G7

Partner with Africa for solutions, not impose them – Uhuru to G7

TAORMINA, SICILY, ITALY

The sun sets close to 9pm in the evening, the fading clouds hanging on the Sicilian skies, dim into night. In their place, the music of the tides from the Mediterranean Sea introduces the little town of Taormina.

This is Italy, and for two days, this little town is not so little any more. It is in fact, the most secure place on earth at the moment, as it were. The might in security is telling, world leaders are gathered here, the most powerful of them all.

US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentolini – a gathering of might, the Group of Seven, and despite their being the most industrialised economies, their discussions on the same, paramount.

But this year, Africa gets to sit at a table with the Seven, represented by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, and Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Putting Africa’s interests on the table now slotted as an agenda, President Kenyatta would champion for a freer continent –that would mean a secure continent, which in turn would mean a key partner in solving some of the most pressing issues that cut across the globe: poverty, terrorism, climate change and migration.

Empowering Africa and investing in her would mean fewer Africans would migrate, but, he was clear, it was time the World leaders viewed Africa differently.

“It’s time for them to start listening to the African story see what the needs are and as opposed to a talk down see how to partner…we need for them to partner to us in terms of building homemade solutions instead of them building solutions for us,” said Kenyatta.

Innovation, particularly in Kenya, has seen the growth of Mpesa attract curious minds to its successes – an example Kenyatta would use to rally the world leaders behind Africa.

He would as well, cite M-farm, a mobile platform for farmers, and Ushahidi – an interactive mapping tool used across the world to crowd-source information in elections and emergencies.

Kenyatta was quick to note that technology had its downside however. With the threat of good technology in the wrong hands, the seed of terrorism would grow.

“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.

By the close of the meeting, the narrative to invest in partnerships with Africa was clear.