MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan 10 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has accepted an invitation to become a champion of the African Union culture and the arts program.
The President agreed to take up the new role after receiving a special message from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali who was recently elected to lead the continent’s culture and the arts agenda.
The special message inviting President Kenyatta for the continental role was delivered at State House, Mombasa, by President Keïta’s Special Envoy Prof Alioune Sall on Friday.
Receiving the special message at the meeting attended by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma, the President underscored the importance of culture and the arts in cultivating unity and promoting continental integration.
He said the rich African culture and the arts could be harnessed as a vehicle to inculcate a positive attitude, instill patriotism as well as create employment for the youth throughout the continent.
In promoting the African cultural heritage, President Kenyatta expressed the need to also bring on board all Africans in the diaspora including people of African descent spread across the globe.
“I am keen on promoting our culture, our rich African culture which is our identity and heritage. You can count on our support on this,” the President said.
He assured the special envoy that Kenya will provide two experts on culture to join the technical team charged with the responsibility of spearheading the implementation of the continent’s cultural agenda.
“It is important to come up with a concrete agenda on culture and the arts that can be implemented, and we need to work together to move this agenda forward,” President Kenyatta said.
On peace and security, the President expressed the need for Kenya and Mali to collaborate more closely in the fight against terrorism.
The Head of State sent a message of condolence to President Keïta and the people of Mali following a terrorist attack last November and said the two countries need to collaborate more in the fight against terrorism.
Prof. Sall acknowledged Kenya’s rich cultural heritage and its leading role in the arts, saying that was one of the reasons why President Keïta picked President Kenyatta for the role.
President Kenyatta will officially be installed into the new role in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next month.