, TAORMINA, Italy, May 27 – President Uhuru Kenyatta came to the hilltop resort city of Taormina with a clear message to G7 -“It’s time to listen to Africa’s story.”
Speaking to Kenyan reporters at the Hotel Villa Sant Andrea soon after addressing the summit, President Kenyatta said he had laid the foundation on the prospects that exist on the continent.
“I focused on the opportunities that derive from innovation and the progress and steps we have made especially with regard to engaging the young people in Kenya and on the African continent and the possibilities the Internet an mobile telephony have to help us create jobs,” he said.
He disclosed that he also focused on the investments that Africa is making in roads, power, energy sectors, and how this is helping open up the continent.
“We sensed a lot of enthusiasm from our partners who are willing to engage us in the spirit not necessarily of dependence, but rather a spirit of partnership that seeks win-win solutions for both partners.”
He said the meeting also discussed the challenges that are posed by the same digital dividends.
“Technology has been used by forces that are opposed to a free society especially those anti-democratic forces; those terrorist forces that seek to radicalise and we need to ways in which we can partner to counter the negative aspects of innovation.”
President Kenyatta it was necessary to live with the understanding that the world is at war with a few individuals who seek to use openness to undermine society and create divisions.
“We must manage positive aspects of innovation and ICT but must work closely to eliminate that small minority that may use this technology in a negative manner.”
He said he hoped post-G7 will see closer cooperation at a bilateral level to transform the continent and create new opportunities.
Earlier in the day, President Kenyatta held bilateral talks with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.
Gentiloni spoke of the need for G7 to continue to be involved with both trade and aid in Africa.
He pledged continued cooperation to Kenya in security, fighting terror and maritime matters.
The two leaders also discussed increasing the volume of Kenyan exports, which currently include coffee, tea, hides and skins, fish, leather, fruits and vegetables, and cut flowers.
“Italy is keen to keep its share of the Kenyan market in machinery, fertilizers, and accessories for medicines,” State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu said after the talks.
Merkel on her part called for closer cooperation to promote innovation and technology transfer, key being to seek leapfrogging solutions such as mobile telephony has done.
Merkel also invited a select group of African leaders – among them President Kenyatta – to the upcoming G20 Summit to continue dialogue.