, ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Mar 3 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on African leaders to prioritise and fast-track the integration processes for the continent to achieve faster development.
He said that the current crop of leaders need to follow the legacies of the founding fathers of African countries by uniting people across the continent.
The Kenyan leader spoke Saturday evening at the Presidential Palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a state dinner hosted in his honour by the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.
President Kenyatta called for the removal of all systemic barriers that hinder the blossoming of people-to-people relations in Africa.
“We need to build on the warm relations that exist between our governments to include our populations so as to foster people-to-people interactions,” President Kenyatta said.
He said that for Africa to defeat ignorance, disease and poverty the challenges that have continued to suppress the continent since the days of its founding fathers, Africans must work together as good neighbours and loving brothers.
“Our people should be let to travel throughout their continent freely without any hindrances. We are all brothers and sisters with a common heritage as Africans,” the President said.
He commended the Ethiopian leadership led by PM Ahmed and President Zewde for the progress being experienced in the country.
He said Kenya is keen on participating in the planned regeneration of Addis Ababa into a modern African city saying that it doesn’t make economic sense for Africans to keep spending financial resources needed to develop the continent in foreign capitals.
“Our African capitals belong to all of us. Addis Ababa belongs to Kenyans just like Nairobi belongs to Ethiopians. We therefore need to partner in the transformation our cities,” President Kenyatta said.
“It doesn’t make any sense for fellow Africans to keep spending our hard earned money in other people’s countries when we can develop our cities to world class standards. Kenya will participate in the modernization of Addis Ababa by sending over a team of entrepreneurs,” he added.
PM Ahmed said Kenya is a key development partner of Ethiopia and thanked President Kenyatta for the visit which has renewed the longstanding friendly relations between the two East African nations.
He thanked President Kenyatta for agreeing to be part of the Addis Ababa modernization project and said that all countries in East Africa should work on regenerating their capitals.
While recalling the hospitality she enjoyed in Nairobi while serving at the United Nations before assuming her current position, President Zewde thanked President Kenyatta and PM Abiy for rekindling the close and strong bilateral and people-to-people relations between Kenya and Ethiopia that were started by the founding fathers of the two nations Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Emperor Haile Selassie in the 1960’s.
She thanked Kenya for being a true friend of Ethiopia and cited the visa free travel for Ethiopian citizens as a true demonstration of the deep rooted friendship between the two countries.
Earlier in the day, President Kenyatta accompanied Prime Minister Ahmed for the official opening of the Debre Birhan Industrial Park in Amhara Region on the occasion of national celebrations to mark the Victory of Adwa.
Every year on March 1st, Ethiopians come together to celebrate the historic defeat of the colonial Italian forces by their brave warriors led by Emperor Menelik II in 1896 near the town of Adwa in the Tigray Region.
The Debre Birhan Industrial Park built on 1,100 hectares of land at a cost of 75 million US dollars, will create job opportunities for about 1,000 Ethiopians.
Ethiopia which has 5 similar installations plans to increase the number of industrial parks to 30 so as to make the country a manufacturing hub and lower-middle-income economy by 2025.