ITALY, Aug 24 – Italy has pledged to do ‘everything possible’ to help Kenya restore its degraded environment.
Foreign Minister Franco Frattini pledged during talks with Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday that he would take up the issue with his government before giving a concrete decision on the matter.
Mr Frattini was responding to an appeal by Mr Odinga for more investment in environmental protection to safeguard political stability and food security in Africa.
Accompanied by Ministers John Michuki, Amos Kimunya, Njeru Githae and Jeffa Kingi, the PM asked the developed world to give financial support to nations struggling to conserve their environment, promising that the funds would be used well.
“Africa now has a lot of responsible leaders. It is no longer the place where donors would put money only for the money to disappear into a bottomless hole,” the PM said.
Mr Frattini said that he would initiate discussions with top officials at the Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs and agree on how to help Kenya on environmental matters.
“I commit here to initiate discussions with the ministries of environment and foreign affairs to design a programme on how to support Kenya.”
“Italy will support environmental protection in Kenya. We will also study ways to help with the food situation in Kenya,” he added.
At the same time, Mr Odinga asked Europe to open its markets to African goods to help the continent develop.
During a round table discussion on Africa’s forgotten conflicts, the PM said that Africans would continue to migrate to Europe despite being unwelcome there as long as there are income gaps between the two continents.
“As long as there are no proper investments in Africa, Africans will continue to cross into Europe and no army, not even Napoleon’s army or navy will be able to stop Africans from coming to European shores,” Mr Odinga said.
“We welcome your goods into Africa. Give us access to your markets. Lets work together to make this world a better home for all of us,” he told a panel attended by more than 2,000 people.
The panellists included Mr Frattini, Vice President of Sierra Leone Roberto Fontolan, Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt, and Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister Amama Bambazi, among others.