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Uhuru lauds Pan African Movement for enhancing economic liberation

UHURU-FISTSNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has lauded the Pan African Movement (PAM) for its efforts in enhancing economic liberation saying this will uplift the lives of Africans.

He further applauded the group for what he referred to as ‘keeping the flame of African freedom alive’ stating that there was a need to forge new Pan Africanism in line with current conditions and challenges.

“We need to recognise the challenges that we face and the opportunities that we have in overcoming those challenges. The success of our Pan Africanism will be judged by its ability to positively transform the economic life of Africa’s individuals and communities,” he said.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Eastern Africa region Pan Africa Congress he noted the high number of youth who had attended the meeting saying this was truly the new face of Pan Africanism adding that their skills should be exploited to bring economic success.

Kenyatta reminisced how his father, the late Jomo Kenyatta in 1945 spoke for Eastern Africa at the Pan African Congress held in Manchester, United Kingdom where he told delegates that their priority was to gain political independence.

He noted that 50 years later, there had been so much improvement adding that the next 50 could only be better, “if African countries stood together.”

“Africans today live longer than they did under colonial rule; African political identities have expanded beyond the nations, kingdoms and communities that the coloniser found; and the international community has been critically shaped by the inclinations and interests of African states,” he said.

He supported calls for free movement of people and goods throughout the continent saying this would open new horizons for investment and entrepreneurship.

“Tanzanians should be able to easily buy Togolese fabric, Nigerians to enjoy Kenyan milk products, and Ivoirians to enjoy Ugandan Matoke,” he said.

“Each African should be free to sell to every other African, especially now that e-commerce is possible. Imagine an African with a 10percent sales tax only, levied when the goods cross borders, with efficient logistics companies taking advantage of world-class infrastructure.”

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President Kenyatta said Africa will not be truly free until the day when Africans will be visiting other continents in droves as tourists rather than as illegal immigrants.

He urged African countries to take advantage of the immense natural resources for instance crude oil and minerals available to make them economic strongholds while at the same time harnessing the skills and ambition for self-improvement of Africans.

“It is growing vibrant economies and the resulting tax revenues from them that will secure the funds we need to expand access to health, education and security for all,” added Kenyatta.

He told African countries to begin keeping proper records of their citizens, their ownership of land and other forms of property so that contracts can be properly enforced.

He also called for the strengthening of legal systems to be responsive to all, rich and poor.

President Kenyatta spoke after the chairman of the Pan African Movement, Maj Gen (Rtd) Kahinda Otafire, read resolutions of the congress which included calls to improve the free flow of people and trade between African countries.

“These colonial borders whose sovereignty we defend are irrational, we need to have a free Africa,” he said.

Otafire also revisited the calls for the strengthening of the African Court of Justice saying all African countries should sign a memorandum to curb the manipulation of the International Criminal court.

The meeting was also attended by the Vice-President of Sudan, Hasabu Mohamed Abdulrahman, the First Vice President of Burundi, Prosper Bazombanza, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

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