Peace, security and trade were the overriding topics during today’s plenary session of the inaugural Russia-Africa Summit in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
World leaders called for concerted efforts to combat terrorism and transnational crimes which they said are impediments to economic growth and stability especially in emerging economies.
At the session co-chaired by host President Vladimir Putin and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt who is also the current Chairperson of the African Union, all leaders who spoke including President Uhuru Kenyatta were unanimous that peace and security can only be achieved through mutual trust and deepening of ties between nations.
President Kenyatta said the summit is a turning point in the history of Russia-Africa relations since it creates a new platform for crafting new mechanisms of cooperation between the two regions.
The Kenyan leader said pursuit of peace and sustainable security are core to Kenya’s foreign policy which is also at the core of the African Union agenda.
The President said transnational security challenges such as piracy, terrorism cyber security and trafficking can only be tackled through cooperation and partnerships amongst world nations.
“Kenya will, among other things, endeavor to build bridges regionally and globally with a view to promote collective peace and security, counter violent extremism and terrorism and enhance efforts towards the global environment and climate change agenda,” he said
President Kenyatta said growing ecological fragility caused by climate change compounds global security threats and called on the Russian government to use its influential position in the community of nations to promote global action towards sustainable development and climate action agenda.
While expressing his gratitude to Russia for its support to Africa’s peace keeping efforts, the President called on the country to use its influence to ensure that AMISOM gets UN funding.
“We urge Russia to lobby the United Nations to allow UN accessed funding for AMISOM,” President Kenyatta said adding that Kenya believes in forging partnerships that cultivate shared prosperity.
Citing Kenya’s experience and contribution to global peace initiatives, the President lobbied the summit to support the country’s candidature for a non-permanent seat on UN Security Council during elections slated for June next year.
The Head of State pointed out that the summit offers leaders an opportunity to rekindle Russia-Africa relations, to reshape and expand political, economic, technical and cultural cooperation, and to imagine and create a structured future relation.
“Kenya, like many other African countries, draws on a long history with this great nation.
“We benefited from the Soviet Union support during the struggle for liberation, which, in effect, guided Africa’s early efforts to develop strategies and plans that would set us on the path of political liberation, economic autonomy and self-reliance.
“Indeed, many of our African political forefathers drew great inspiration from the Soviet Union,” President Kenyatta said.
Putin commended President Kenyatta for his leadership role in the economic prosperity of the African continent especially in the deep involvement and empowerment of the private sector as a key participant in the economic development of Kenya.
“You have mentioned the most important aspect on the need to involve private investments. I must say this is also relevant for us. We are working on it, creating favourable investor climate,” the Russian leader told President Kenyatta.
President Fattah el-Sisi urged Russia to continue supporting peace and security efforts in Africa and thanked the country for being a “true and since friend” since time immemorial.
He said Russia supported Africa in the fight against colonialism and continues to be one of the continent’s biggest supporter whenever the is faced with forces that threaten its peace and stability.