BEIJING, China, May 15 – President Uhuru Kenyatta was on Sunday keen to make the point that any partnerships Kenya enters into must serve the interests of its people.
Addressing a gathering of world leaders in China attending the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Kenyatta said his government supported the initiative because it was grounded in the principal of mutual respect and benefit.
“As we seek to leverage the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, we remain convinced that such engagement must benefit all of us.”
In the past, President Kenyatta said, the continent had been taken advantage of and the Belt and Road initiative provided an opportunity for Africa to reinvent itself by extending it the financial helping hand needed to grow its infrastructure; which would allow it to increase its competitiveness in the market place and turn its fortunes around.
“Post-colonial Africa has been stuck in a rut. The continent must move from being mere consumers of imports of finished products to exporters,” President Kenyatta told the leaders.
The Belt and Road initiative to its credit, President Kenyatta added also took into consideration the need for a skills exchange so Africans could be masters of their own fate.
“It will be a win-win situation when our people have the skills, assets and financing necessary to participate in the development of the infrastructure corridors that will enhance connectivity.”
African states, President Kenyatta made a point of including in his statement, had themselves began to take the steps towards true self-determination through projects such as the Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor in pursuit of fairer trade.
“The Belt and Road Initiative meets the great need of the hour – an expansion in global trade and investment, in a time when powerful forces are ranged against free and fair trade.”
Over and over in his address he employed the phrase, “win-win,” making it clear that once bitten, twice shy.
“We should, of course, make certain that the policies on which we agree have the proper protections.”