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Mudavadi urges Europe, Africa partnership to harness opportunities

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi has urged Europe and Africa to work together to harness opportunities that will translate into tangible actions for countries.

Mudavadi said that by prioritizing sustainable development, promoting inclusive growth and fostering collaboration across sectors, both regions can unlock their full potential, paving way for a brighter future.

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He also welcomed Denmark’s commitment to sustainable development, saying there are immense opportunities for Denmark and Africa to align their policies and investments with sustainable development goals.

“Let us remain steadfast in our dedication to cooperation and dialogue, translating our discussions into tangible actions that foster positive change in our societies. Together, we can build stronger partnerships, foster innovation, and create a more prosperous world for future generations,” Mudavadi said.

He made the remarks during the start of the Danish Government’s new approach to strengthened partnerships with Africa at the High Level Dialogue meeting in Copenhagen.

Mudavadi is in Denmark to represent President William Ruto in the meeting.

“We have witnessed a tremendous improvement in the level of engagement between Denmark and Africa and more so with Kenya as a comparison 15 years ago and now. What we need to focus on are the structures of engagement to see if they are having the necessary impact required on the African continent,” said Mudavadi.

“We need to move to the phase of proper implementation of the agreements we enter in and the policies we engage in for Africa to see the benefits that lie in within,” he added.

Mudavadi lauded the government of the Kingdom of Denmark for its support on Africa’s trade and investment initiatives saying Africa and Kenya in particular is ready to foster more friendly partnership amidst the global competitive market.

He argues that there is a need for engagements that will yield a structure that has a greater impact on the livelihoods of Africans and help African countries get out of poverty and crises.

This he said will make a lot of sense to the partnerships between Denmark and European Countries at large with Africa.

“For Instance, what we need to ask ourselves is what can Europe or Denmark do to help African Countries navigate some stringent and difficult trade regulations like those within the World Trade Organization Set-Up,” he remarked.

“What Africa is asking relates to the trade numbers which are somehow still very grim as to what the African continent gets in terms of trade balance,” he added.

He explained that strengthening cooperation entails fostering regional integration and collaboration across sectors, adding that creation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a single market for the continent provides an incentive for Denmark and Europe to invest in value-added production in Africa.

“By supporting the full realization of the aims of the AfCFTA, Denmark/Europe can contribute to enhanced trade dynamics, promote economic diversification and foster regional stability,” he explained.

As far as agriculture and food security is concerned, Mudavadi said Africa has huge tracts of arable land that are still unutilized or underutilized.

He said the continent is home to 65 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land, abundant fresh water and about 300 days of sunshine a year.

Through appropriate investments in agriculture, he stated that the continent has the potential to be the global food basket.

“There is a huge opportunity for Africa and Europe to partner in agricultural research, technology transfer, improved market access for agricultural products, among other areas, to enhance agricultural value chains and food security,” he stated.

Owing to proximity between the two continents, Mudavadi said Europe has always been a preferred market for Africa’s agricultural products.

But the market access for agricultural products from the continent have been restricted by trade barriers arising from the ever-changing EU standards.

He noted that building partnerships in Africa’s foods production will drive sustainable production practices and enable farmers meet global standards necessary for enhanced market access.

In Kenya, Mudavadi assured that government agencies are continuously improving national systems to ensure compliance and traceability along the supply chain, meeting the standards necessary to facilitate trade.

“We call for partnership with Denmark and EU to invest in food production to enable Africa’s producers to meet global safety standards,” he urged.

He said Kenya, in particular, recognizes the centrality of global and regional peace and security in the development of our economies.

“Investing in peace and security is paramount for stability and progress. As Denmark and other EU member states continue to address conflict in Europe including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is important not to lose focus on other protracted conflicts in the world,” he said.

For instance, Mudavadi cited conflicts the Sahel, Horn of Africa and other regions continue to take a toll on Africa’s development potential.

“The conflicts have caused displacements in our region and are a key driver to irregular immigration to Europe and other developed regions. A partnership between our two regions and concerted efforts to bolster peace building initiatives and security frameworks across the continent can diffuse the humanitarian and development crisis fueled by these conflicts,” he explained.

“When you look at the statistics, how much is set aside to deal with issues relating to conflicts and what is the actual amount of money that goes into supporting crucial sectors like education, agriculture, health and food security, you find out that conflicts are sacking huge resources that could help alleviate poverty, boost health and education among promoting actual production in terms of food security,” he regretted.

He, however, lauded Denmark for the support it provided to Ukraine and Palestine and for also implementing the 2023-2026 peace and stabilization programme for the Horn of Africa.

The CS called for enhanced partnership to ensure inclusion of women, youth and civil society in addressing the political crisis in the region.

He said Africa has the requisite natural resources to drive the green energy transition and is open to partnerships with Denmark and Europe to harness the green energy potential and foster a sustainable, resilient energy future driven by innovation, collaboration and equitable access for all stakeholders.

He said Kenya is a leader in green energy growth and is on track to achieve full green status by 2030.

At the same time, he assured that Kenya is actively seeking investments for green hydrogen manufacturing, a strategic move that acknowledges emerging need for growth while recognizing the limitations of current production models.

“Together, we can drive inclusive growth and environmental resilience by prioritizing critical elements such as energy and food security,” he noted.

He said embracing green technologies and sustainable practices will see Kenya and other African countries achieve economic prosperity and environmental sustainability, forging a path towards a greener future.

“By embracing the principles of inclusivity, dialogue, multilateralism and equity we can better address these complex challenges that we face. Seeking a common ground will enable us to overcome the challenges confronting our world, seize opportunities and build a more peaceful and prosperous future for our citizens,” Mudavadi affirmed.

The CS also stated that Denmark and Africa recognizes the potential of intensified trade relations and investments, particularly in the realm of technology transfers in green energy.

Mudavadi stated that Africa has extensive mineral reserves, green energy sources and other raw materials needed to power the growth of the global economy.

On the other hand, Europe has the technology and financial capital to drive investments to Africa to harness these resources and create employment in the continent.

On health diplomacy, he explained that Africa is ready to enhance collaborate, especially in the exchange of experiences and expertise on primary healthcare systems to deliver Universal Health Coverage and human resource development.

“To better reinforce our pandemic preparedness, we need to foster  partnerships that focus on vaccines production hub in Africa, under the World Health Organization spoke and hub model. This will ensure we develop and contribute to a robust biopharma sector in Kenya,” he said.

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