, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – Deputy President William Ruto has reached out to African countries asking them to spearhead efforts to stabilise and instil peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
Ruto, who was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Great Lakes Summit, said African countries must work together to address the conflicts that threaten the growth and prosperity of those countries.
He noted that war torn countries turned away potential investors and dragged down the economies of the neighbouring African countries.
“We cannot share conflict and poverty but we can certainly share wealth and prosperity. It is therefore our responsibility to be our brother’s keeper and to begin to put instruments that will create wealth in place,” he urged.
Ruto also called upon African governments to put in place adequate security measures for their citizens as a means of ending the cycle of violence.
He argued that peace and security must become the focal point of the continent’s development because they would boost the establishment of thriving businesses.
“There is absolutely no reason why half a century later, there is still manifest poverty, insecurity and instability. Half a century later, we are still running away from our homes for fear of persecution and violence,” he quipped.
The Deputy President at the same time drummed up support for trade relations between African countries as a means of strengthening the continent’s economy in addition to fighting poverty.
Ruto said that African nations must tap into each others’ wealth to foster economic growth.
He explained that Africa had a lot of wealth and it was ironical how the bulk of its population languished in poverty.
“Comparing the numbers with the European Union Commissioner on Trade, I learnt that intra Europe trade is 85 percent. Intra Asia trade is 65 percent and intra Africa trade is 12 percent,” he observed.
The Jubilee government has been keen on wooing fellow African countries for trade relations.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has already held discussions with African leaders on the establishment of a railway line that will go through Uganda and the DRC.
The construction of the Lamu corridor, which seeks to connect Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya, is also underway.
There are also plans to reduce the trade hurdles and bureaucracies that exist in Kenya’s systems so as to encourage potential investors and business persons.