, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – Kuwait has offered a Sh86.4 billion soft loan to African Countries that will be disbursed over the next five years through its Economic Development Fund.
Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jabah Al-Sabah said on Tuesday that Kuwait would also work with the World Bank and other financial institutions to guarantee an additional Sh85 billion which will be used on infrastructure in the continent.
Kuwait has already approved loans and grants for the construction of a hospital in Kenya’s Wajir county at a cost of Sh900 million.
An additional Sh1.4 billion will go towards constructing schools in Borabu and a further Sh4.3 billion will go towards two road projects in eastern and northern Kenya.
The Emir, who was speaking during the 3rd Arab-Africa Summit, said time had come for Africa and the Arabic world to strengthen their partnership and foster economic growth.
“Kuwait recognises the strategic importance of the Arab-Africa Group and has long sought to strengthen the partnership with the African continent,” he said.
“Massive investments in Africa by Kuwait companies are firm proof of my country’s commitment to strategic partnerships.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta on his part urged Arab countries to invest heavily in Africa saying both regions would benefit greatly.
Kenyatta is expected to speak strongly about the damage brought by terror on African economies and he will also explore how African and Arab countries can pool Sovereign Wealth Funds to fast-track investment.
“Without a doubt, Arab-African relations are founded on unbreakable bonds and the most immutable circumstances. We share a common geography and history over two continents and have pursued similar aspirations and goals collectively and individually over many years,” the President told the summit.
The two-day summit, which opened on Tuesday, will discuss a joint financing mechanism for development projects to promote trade and investment.
The Heads of States will also discuss the global fight against terrorism as well as trans-national crimes like piracy, drug and human trafficking.
Other issues that will be discussed are the Africa-Arab cooperation in security and coordination of positions on the reform of the United Nations.
Kenyatta is also expected to separately hold talks with the leaders of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Palestine in addition to meeting his African compatriots, including Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Alassane Ouattara (Cote D’Ivoire), Macky Sall (Senegal) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
“The founders of the Arab -African partnership resolved to work together towards those shared goals, and committed themselves to a vision of brotherhood and solidarity. The realization that our respective journeys towards prosperity share the same roads is the foundation of our partnership,” added Kenyatta.
The African and Arab leaders are meeting, three years after the second summit held in Libya to examine the progress made in implementing resolutions made as part of strategic partnership between the two economic blocks.
Desalegn expressed appreciation to Kuwait and the Arab world for development assistance to the continent over the years stressing the need for the Arab world and Africa to enhance cooperation in agriculture and infrastructure.
African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma assured that Africa remained committed to partnerships based on mutual benefit and solidarity.
She said there was need for Africa to learn from the past to develop a continent where peace and respect prevailed to achieve development.