Raila Odinga

Month: November 2018

PARADIGM SHIFT, MINDSET CHANGE FOR AFRICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE REVOLUTION:

PARADIGM SHIFT, MINDSET CHANGE FOR AFRICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE REVOLUTION:

Remarks of the Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga, EGH;High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, 4th PIDA Week 2018
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Eng. Amos Marawa, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Government of Zimbabwe
Executive Secretary Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe
Director-General, Belt and Road Unit, National Development and Reform Commission, the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Xiao Weiming;
Carla Montesi of EU;
Dr Amani Abou-Zeid Commissioner Infrastructure and Energy of AU;
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD.
Mr. Joel Biggie Matiza – Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development and Transport, Republic of Zimbabwe,
Distinguished guests
Let me begin by thanking my brother Ibrahim and the AU Commission for inviting me to PIDA Week 2018.
This is taking place in one of the World’s greatest natural wonders that also showcases Africa’s potential– the Victoria Falls in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
As you are aware, a few weeks ago, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat appointed me to a task that few are called upon to perform; that is, to serve our people and our continent, at a time we are pursuing a 50-year transformational agenda of the “AfricaWeWant” in Agenda 2063.
For this recognition and call to duty as a servant of my Continent, I am most humbled, and thankful, to my brother, the Chairperson.
My task as Infrastructure Champion, is to accelerate our transboundary connectivity through infrastructure.
I therefore call all of you present here today to put hands-on-the-Wheels and we all push in the same direction.
If we all commit to this common cause, our efforts will be realized, sooner rather than later.
Realizing our continent’s development agenda will require fundamental change in behaviour and mind-sets.
It requires taking transformative decisions and being innovative in the way we approach persistent problems.
With regard to infrastructure, these problems include inadequate road and air connectivity with resulting and trade deficits’ which we as a continent, have come to accept as the normal state of affairs.
We live in the digital information age. We must therefore fastrack the unblocking of political bottlenecks for ICT Broadband and Fibre Optic Projects Linking our States. Africa’s children and leadership must be helped to access information at the click of a button or we shall never compete.
In this quest, old habits and old paradigms must give way to well-thoughout initiatives and I am glad we have embarked on this.
I see such a shift in the creation of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) – and the HR – High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa Initiative.
For these initiatives to yield results, we must overcome another set of old habits; the habit of perpetual feasibility studies and procurement of consultancies.
We are not inventing the wheel. We have tried and proven delivery mechanisms that we could implennt with modifications to ensure speedy and smart delivery.
These mecahnisms exist within government files. They are also with our private sector partners. They are with our development partners who should be willing to share them with us, hopefully, without conditions or strings attached.
The last thing Africa needs at this point in time is partnership with strings and conditions.
Such smart delivery instruments like Design and Build, Turn-key, Framework Contracting, to name a few, should come in handy for the Continent and help us get out of the trap of feasibility studies.
In implementing the priority Infrastructure flagship projects – we will need to avoid the traditional and long gestation delivery mechanisms that bogs down our public sectors and resort to the market for efficiency, measured and time-bound delivery.
Over the next two (2) years, we will work closely with key stakeholders which include Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), AU Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Transport/ Infrastructure, and Development partners to deliver impactful projects identfied as low hannging fruits.
These include:
Establishment of Joint Corridor Coordinating Authorities – for the efficient management of vital economic arteries, or corridors, of our continent;
Championing the ratification of Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGAs) for the development of the Trans African Highways, Missing links; and the adoption of the Minimum Technical Norms and Standards by AU member countries, for the development and maintenance of the Trans African Highways;
Championing the establishment of lead National and Regional Agencies on Road Safety, as recommended by the AU-Specialized Technical Committee (STC) for Transport and Infrastructure, to give impetus to the realization of the “African Decade Programme on Road Safety (2011-2020)”.

We recognise the need for equitable and balanced development opportunities amongst the Trans African Corridors, in the course of implementing the high level Infrastructure Championing Initiative.
We will therefore include as part of our Projects Selection Criteria for the upgrading of the TAH missing links – “peace dividend project-awards”, to foot-print countries and RECs, along key under-developed TAH corridors.
Africa’s transformation, as outlined in Agenda 2063 – will require “agents of change”, or projects of monumental scale, to trigger, and give impetus, to the social and economic transformation programme of Agenda 2063.
For instance, given the present global re-positioning economic order, Africa will have to define, and finance its own equivalent of Inter-State and Pan-American Higways or Belt and Road initiative to reinforce the continent’s key flagship drivers: African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
We must explore new frontiers of connectivity. The opening of what we call The African Belt Way, that is the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, connecting the eastern and western-central Africa deep-sea ports of Lamu, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic at Douala in Cameroon, will need to be scoped and tabled for turn-key development.
We will champion the Continental High Speed Freight Railway Project and advance its implementation. This is an important “change-agent”, with positive impact for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
We will pursue high level advocacy with member states to implement the Prioritized Action Plan (2018-2019) with regard to realisation of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
This will help us fast track the full liberalization of the air transport market in Africa in terms of market access, frequency allocation, tariffs, and the granting of traffic “freedom” rights – all geared towards, easing “doing business”, and travelling within, and outside Africa.
In conclusion Ladies and gentlemen, the task at hand is an enormous. I have no illusions about this and I believe none of us have.
What I do know however, is that, it is doable… if all of us push in the same direction.
I therefore count on all of you my fellow Africans, and friends of Africa, to join me – to see the dreams of our founding fathers and aspirations of our children and grandchildren fulfilled, for a better and inclusive Africa.
I thank you for your attention.
Hon. Raila Odinga,
High Representative-Champion for Infrastructure Development in Africa
23 November 2018

RAILA ODINGA PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR THE TWO-THIRDS GENDER BILL

RAILA ODINGA PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR THE TWO-THIRDS GENDER BILL

This afternoon, H.E Raila Odinga had the opportunity to meet with the members of the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA) Executive to discuss the Two Thirds Gender Bill.
The delegation was led by Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Prof. Margaret Kobia. The Women Leaders sought the support the ministry in preparation for debate on the Two-Thirds Gender Bill. The Bill is set to be tabled for the second time by the National Assembly on Tuesday, 20th November 2018.
The women leaders expressed concern that the Punguza Mizigo campaign being led by a section of politicians targeted women seats.
Hon Odinga pledged unequivocal support for the Bill and appealed to all members of the National Assembly to back their female counterparts.
He congratulated the women leaders for finding a formula to fill the gap and asked them to unite behind the proposals as they lobby their male counterparts.
He further expressed concern that Kenya is falling behind other countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia and Mali on gender equity and the country needs to stand with its women.
“The Gender Rule was a casualty of the tampering with the Bomas Draft that took place first in Kilifi then in Naivasha, but we have another chance to get it right. You can take my support as given,” Mr. Odinga said.

REMARKS AT THE LAUNCH OF GREEN ZONE RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS; KIAMBU

REMARKS AT THE LAUNCH OF GREEN ZONE RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS; KIAMBU

REMARKS OF H.E RAILA ODINGA, AU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA AT THE LAUNCH OF GREEN ZONE RESIDENTIAL APARTMENTS; KIAMBU ROAD; NOVEMBER 9, 2018:
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Kenya is a proud and prominent member of the UN family.
We value our partnership with the UN and we take keen interest in the security, comfort and progress of the UN staff in Nairobi because we remain extremely proud that we host the only UN post outside the developed world. And I want to believe that the UN in Nairobi equally sees itself as a proud and prominent member of the Kenya family; that the staff daily dig deep into their reservoirs of resolve and determine to do good and make a difference that strengthens the concept of the global family and the shared opportunities and challenges that the UN represents.
That is why I felt compelled to be here this morning despite pressing engagements that am to attend to shortly outside Nairobi.
I am therefore very proud and pleased to preside at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Green Zone Residential Apartments Housing Project for UN-Habitat staff.
We fully welcome the efforts of the UN-Habitat to contribute to the alleviation of the housing crisis in Kenya by providing adequate, affordable and secure housing for its staff in Nairobi through their savings.
I want to thank UN-Habitat for the professionalism and diligence that has seen it encourage staff to save and diligently watch over those savings, leading to this multi-billion shillings project. Many employers wish to achieve this milestone but never really do.
This initiative will ensures the staff, who contribute immensely to Kenya’s economy, security and our global standing feel appreciated and facilitated to continue serving Kenya and the world.
And as has been observed, with this project, the UN Habitat is contributing directly to the realisation of the housing component of the Big Four agenda of the Government of Kenya.
The UN Habitat has long been a trusted partner in this critical area of housing. Together, we worked on the Kibera Slum Upgrading Programme during the Grand Coalition Government that saw parts of the massive slum give way to modern and affordable residential apartments. Incomplete as it is, the Kibera Slum Upgrading Programme is testimony of what we can do together with correct partnership and political will. We want this partnership to continue and to expand.
It remains our dream that together with UN-Habitat, we will eradicate slums across Kenya and replace them with modern and affordable houses within the period of our national development blue print of Vision 2030. Strengthening and deepening cooperation with UN-Habitat is critical. This is because while the Constitution of Kenya is explicit that every Kenyan has a right to accessible and adequate housing, and to reasonable standards of sanitation, the reality remains that Kenya, like many other Third World countries, has a massive housing gap.
Yet like all other African countries, Kenya is experiencing rapid urbanization and a bulging young population.
UN Habitat has informed us that half of humanity, a total of 3.5 billion, already live in cities and that by 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population; including Africa’s will live in urban areas.
Kenya’s population between the age of 15 and 64 is expected to hit 45 million by 2035.
We already know how the young population will be making decisions on where and how they will live: they are coming to the cities and other urban centres. UN-Habitat has warned us about that.
Yet according to the 2013 Housing Survey, Kenya will have a deficit of about 2 million houses over the next 10 years but that is only if the population remains static, and we know it will not.
The deficit will therefore be larger, unless we act now. This reality has real and clear implication for housing.
It is a two-dimension crisis. First, it is a crisis of a young and vibrant workforce coming into the cities and who will need housing affordable and decent housing. Yet the towns they are coming to already have too few houses.
Secondly, the cities that are attracting new immigrants already have droves of dwellers who cannot afford or find decent affordable housing.
The result has been and will be obvious; the creation and proliferation of new slums.
Now more than ever before, we need partnerships; with the UN, with the Private Sector and with all employers so we can help house our people today and well into the future.
We need more players to commit to work directly with the government in financing housing projects in Kenya or to alleviate the problem by investing in provision of housing for employees.
We need partnerships that will enable Kenyans access mortgages to buy or build own houses.
With housing identified as a key national development agenda, policies are being put in place to bolster the financial architecture of Kenya’s housing market.
The policies should ensure partnerships for primary housing supply, primary mortgage lending and lines of credit to financial institutions for the promotion of access to decent and affordable housing.
Although our primary focus is urban housing, we must not end here.
The time has come for Kenya and Africa to go beyond cities and towns with regard to housing and move into rural areas where housing patterns is crippling other land uses and inhibiting economic growth.
With UN-Habitat, we can plan better our rural areas to ensure sustainable housing that does not interfere with other land uses for economic gain while at the same time ensuring that even rural populations have well designed housing with commensurate sanitation.
Finally, I notice that the housing units we are launching today belong to the Habitat Housing Co-operative Society. This is a manifestation of the power of cooperative pooling of resources and saving. It is my hope that UN-Habitat can encourage such a culture among other employers in Kenya to enable employees provide own houses for themselves and other needy Kenyans.
Thank you.

PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER SPEECH

PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER SPEECH

REMARKS OF RT. HON RAILA ODINGA AT THE AFRICAN PRESIDENTIAL LEADERSHIP CENTER ROUNDTABLE 2018
TOWARD A CONTINENTAL STRATEGY FOR EDUCATION EXCELLENCE

Four Seasons Hotel, Westcliff, Johannesburg, South Africa
OCTOBER 30TH 2018

Education has always been viewed in Africa as a tool for liberation and a requirement for national development.
It has also been viewed as a possible tool for subjugation by the authorities if not carefully watched.
In Kenya during the colonial era, freedom fighters sought education as a tool for empowering the Africans to enable them confront the colonisers and eventually manage the affairs of the nation once the colonisers were forced out.
But the view of education as a possible tool for subjugation made some people create independent schools, just like they did, independent churches.
At the centre of this contest was the question of what type of education do we need and what was the education for?
In the years that followed, Nelson Mandela came to describe education as “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.
So the centrality of education to human progress has long been acknowledged at the highest levels of Africa’s political leadership.
The challenge, however, has been actualization.
The question however remains: how inclusive and equitable is education in Africa?
What can we do to promote inclusion and equity ensuring no one is left behind, particularly with regard to post-primary education?
Today many institutions are yet to come up with workable modes of delivering higher education programmes that take cognizance of individual learning and physical disabilities, cultural diversities; and technologies which reduce the existing divide between rural and urban areas; high income earners and the poverty-ridden segment of society.
Two weeks ago, I presided over a graduation ceremony and I made the point that we need to start giving dedicated focus to three things that are critical to the development of Kenya and Africa at large.
These three things are; One, research, Two, research, Three, research.
Without research, we are sitting ducks in a rapidly and constantly changing world.
I believe we can and must use our experience and influence to push our Continent to invest in and support more basic research that can be used to innovatively enhance our lives.
As a continent, we need to agree that each year; we will devote more money to research and a clear list of the projects to be financed and why they matter.
But first some basic adjustments must take place. There must be a level playing field for girls and boys in access to education.
As much as girls’ chances of beginning the quest for education are almost as high as that of boys, they lag behind in progression and completion.
Studies have shown that a good number of challenges faced by girls in their school life creep up just before teenage hood and persist.
Some of the factors that account for girls’ poor performance in the long run include long distances to school, insecurity, religion, lack of sanitary facilities, parental illiteracy and neglect, strained communication between parents and their daughters, sexual predators and broken families. We must protect our girls right to education
While it is beneficial to have an educated populace there is need to ensure that massification is not achieved at the expense of quality.
Finally, and most importantly, the time has come for Africa to confront the dark reality that all the education that the Continent has given its daughters and sons has failed to address; this is the specific problem of corruption or Governance more generally.
It is a fact that the huge corruption scams that pull Africa down are conceived and executed by some of the best brains in the Continent.
Africa must confront the culture of short cuts, deals and quick wealth and deal with it today and not tomorrow.
We are not merely staring at great moral decay as a continent. We are deep in the middle of a great moral decay.
The belief that the end justifies the means is taking deep roots in our society with encouragement of leaders and well educated elite.
And so we go back to the initial question: Education for what?
My response would be that we need to go back to President Harry Truman over 70 years ago and what he thought about education.
In 1960, Truman said:
“Our children are our greatest resource, and our greatest asset–the hope of our future, and the future of the world. We must not permit the existence of conditions, which cause our children to believe that crime is inevitable and normal.
“We must teach idealism–honour, ethics, decency, the moral law. We must teach that we should do right because it is right, and not in the hope of any material reward.”
Africa must start teaching idealism if education is to be the force for good that it is meant to be.