Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked American institutions to support indigenous African solutions fashioned to address governance challenges facing the continent.
Kenyatta said the US and the world at large have a lot to gain by making Africa work for its people.
Speaking on Wednesday, 5 February 2020 in Washington DC, he addressed leaders of the Atlantic Council at a forum dubbed “The Future of the US-Kenya Strategic Partnership”
The Atlantic Council is an American Atlanticist international affairs think-tank founded in 1961 as a non-partisan institution. It is aimed at galvanizing the US leadership and engaging with the world for purposes of finding solutions to global challenges. The council uses its forums to influence US policies to make them responsive to the needs of a free, secure and prosperous world.
Kenyatta cautioned American institutions against advancing democracy as a one-size-fits-all prescription, saying the approach undermines the foundations upon which the concept is based. He said African countries should be given opportunities to engineer new approaches that support and extend democracy in line with their realities.
“It requires bringing more nuance to how we make judgments about politics, and the resulting interventions countries like the United States should undertake,” Kenyatta stated.
On the US-Africa partnership, the President cautioned against repeating historical mistakes as he called on African and American institutions to focus on exploiting available business opportunities for the mutual economic benefit of all parties.
“We must begin to look at Africa as the world’s biggest opportunity if you can dare look at it with a fresh eye and a sense of history. And Kenya is a key country in converting that opportunity into mutual gain,” he said.
Kenyatta pitched for strong US-Africa partnership saying the current African leadership is not motivated by the perpetuation of narrow partisan interests but rather focused on empowering the continent’s citizens economically.
“I have noticed in the conversation in Western countries and their counterparts in Asia and the Middle East a return to competition over Africa. In some cases, weaponising divisions, pursuing proxy actions, and behaving like Africa is for the taking. It is not,” Kenyatta said.