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Mudavadi lobbies envoys to back Raila for AU post

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 08:00 | By
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi
Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi. PHOTO/@OfficePCS_KE/X

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has urged African diplomats to support Kenya’s candidature to the African Union Commission (AUC).

Mudavadi said this is the opportunity for the Eastern Africa region, affirming that Kenya is ready and willing to take over leadership at the continental level.

Kenya is fronting former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga to the position of AUC Chairperson, in the elections to be held next year.

“As you are aware, the position of AUC will take place in February 2025. Kenya has an interest given her pivotal role in enhancing and sustaining the Pan-African Agenda. Stakeholder engagement process across governments is ongoing and a formal process will follow,” said Mudavadi.

He made the remarks yesterday during a meeting with African diplomatic corps in Nairobi, as Kenya seeks to leverage its position in African Union to champion for institutional reforms and advance the Pan-African Agenda.

“You may also be aware that Kenya took over the leadership of the African Union Champion for institutional reforms. We hope to work with all as we try to achieve Agenda 2063. In this regard, we will be coming to you soon to seek your support and that of your countries,” he added.

Mudavadi said that Kenya has shown interest to run for the position amongst the East African Community member states.

“I will not want to divulge into our campaign strategy but we are thinking very seriously about it and we want to work collectively as a country and the region so that East Africa can have an opportunity to lead Africa.” he said over the weekend while in Lamu.

Smooth process

Also during the meeting with African diplomatic corps yesterday, Mudavadi assured that the government is working to streamline the visa-free system to ensure a smooth process, as part of improving trade and investment ties.

Mudavadi said removal of visa requirement reaffirmed Government’s commitment to foster a robust, creative and engaging foreign policy to amplify partnership with African countries and the rest of the world

“I am aware that the implementation of the visa-free regime has its teething challenges but I assure that we are aware of these concerns which continue to be addressed and soon we will have a flawless regime,” said Mudavadi.

 “Our borders should be the starting point for our collective socioeconomic development and not edges of self-defence. It is in this context that President William Ruto announced the removal of visa requirements to all countries effective January 2024. This announcement underscores Kenya’s commitment to working with other African countries to improve trade and build a stronger, more united continent,” he explained.

Shared values

Mudavadi said Kenya and African countries enjoy long standing relations founded on historical linkages, special bonds of friendships, shared values, and common aspirations for socio-economic prosperity.

He said these ties have been strengthened over the years through enhanced economic, cultural, educational and diplomatic exchanges. “Over the last one year, the Government has facilitated 25 outbound and 39 inbound official visits at Head of State level within Africa. The Ministry 48 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with African countries and are at various stages of implementation,” he stated.

“Evidently, Africa forms the core of Kenya’s foreign policy, our people strongly believe in mutual coexistence, which is best advanced and enhanced through the warm relations cultivated across our continent. We hope that this year, we shall see even more engagements to build more on our similarities and common strengths. I call upon each one of you to support me in this endeavour,” he added.

Bilateral relations

He said that trade and investment is still one of the strongest pillars of our bilateral relations anchored within the African Union mechanisms and framework, including, the Free Movement of Persons protocol and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

 Kenya, one of the pilot countries in the implementation of the AfCFTA, exported its first goods of locally made car batteries and tea to Ghana in October 2022.

He said Kenya recognises the need to collaborate in mapping beneficial strands in the economic and trade engagements between countries towards full realisation of the AfCFTA as the apex of regional integration.

This, he stated, is guided by the belief that it is possible to foster increased volumes of trade among African countries by jointly working to eliminate barriers emanating from closed borders, strict visa requirements and closed airspace to facilitate the free movement of persons and goods to elevate trade and economic growth.

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