Raila Odinga

Blog

Get the latest news

H.E RAILA ODINGA ON KENYA’S ELECTION TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:

H.E RAILA ODINGA ON KENYA’S ELECTION TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:

June 18, 2020.
RT. HON RAILA ODINGA ON KENYA’S ELECTION TO THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL:
Kenya’s election to the U.N Security Council this evening marks one of the brightest points of our engagement with the world. It is also a bold manifestation that with solidarity, Africa, which backed Kenya, can have its way on the global stage.

This vote is also a major statement on how this country has presented itself to the world, as a nation determined to find home grown solutions to challenges to peace, stability and prosperity and in the process provide a pragmatic example to the rest of the world.

We are grateful for the great vote of confidence by the global community. Our challenge now is to work even harder as a nation and Africa’s representative to deliver on the expectations of the Continent that backed us and the global community that agreed. I am confident that Kenya shall not disappoint.

Congratulations to the team at Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi, our strong team at the UN Mission in New York and our government for the formidable campaign. Our work of sustaining multilateralism in an increasingly polarized world is clearly cut out.
H.E Raila Odinga, EGH.
African Union (AU High Representative for infrastructure development in Africa.
June 18, 2020.

H.E RAILA ODINGA ON ALLEGED MEETING WITH GOVERNOR ANNE WAIGURU:

H.E RAILA ODINGA ON ALLEGED MEETING WITH GOVERNOR ANNE WAIGURU:

JUNE 14, 2020.
H.E RAILA ODINGA ON ALLEGED MEETING WITH GOVERNOR ANNE WAIGURU:

I am deeply concerned about the false story published in the Sunday Nation today, 14th June 2020, that I held a meeting with the recently impeached Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru in a bid to save career.
No such meeting with Ms. Waiguru or the other governors, James Nyoro of Kiambu and Mutahi Kahiga of Nyeri took place as reported in the Sunday Nation.

I also wish to make it clear that there does not exist any Senate Committee to investigate governor Waiguru and whose members from ODM I have instructed to save the governor as reported in the Nation Sunday.
I can however confirm that at the said evening hours on Thursday referred to in the Sunday Nation lead page one story, I had a meeting with Laikipia Women Representative Hon. Catherine Waruguru in the company of some members of Parliament. The meeting had nothing to do with the tribulations of governor Waiguru.

The matters around governor Waiguru and which the Sunday Nation purports to be analyzing and reporting on are critical with regard to strengthening Devolution and governance in Kenya. They require objective and deep reporting, based on verifiable facts, which is hard work, and not a collection of rumours and trivia from anonymous sources, which is the epitome of lazy journalism.

There can be no reason whatsoever why politicians attending a meeting of the kind described by the Sunday Nation would be unwilling to talk about. I routinely update the country on any such meetings and this would not be different if it had happened.

The Sunday Nation owes the country and the whole infrastructure of Devolution clarity on this matter.

H.E RAILA ODINGA
PARTY LEADER; ORANGE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT.
JUNE 14, 2020.

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA ON MADARAKA DAY; JUNE 1, 2020.

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA ON MADARAKA DAY; JUNE 1, 2020.

Fellow Kenyans,
For the first time in our history, we celebrate Madaraka Day away from each other and without the usual physical ceremonies. That is how much COVID-19 has changed our country and turned our lives upside down.
Under these very unique circumstances, I take this opportunity to wish all our citizens and friends of Kenya a very happy and rewarding Madaraka Day.

I salute our dedicated health workers who have risked their lives to lead the battle against COVID-19 from the front and made all the difference with regard to saving lives.

I salute the dedicated civil servants particularly in the Ministry of health who continue giving their all to keep us informed and safe by analysing the trends and providing us with accurate information on where we are and what we need to do as a nation to win the battle.

I particularly want to thank the Cabinet Secretary for Health Hon. Mutahi Kagwe for leading the team in the ministry in such a gallant struggle.

More importantly, I salute our citizens who have taken personal responsibility in the battle against the pandemic in addition to following government guidelines on how to defeat Coronavirus.

In this war, on this unique Madaraka Day, you, the health workers, the dedicated civil servants and the obedient citizens are my heroes.

As a country, we have done well. We have fought a good fight. We have shown the world that what other nations can do, Kenya can do even better.
I would also like to thank His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta for mobilizing the nation to stand firm against this pandemic.
But there is room for improvement. There is room for more personal responsibility and more cooperation with the Government.

Fellow Kenyans, every struggle requires that we make sacrifices and forgo the comforts we are used to if we are to win. Freedom fighters endured starvation in the forests, torture in detention camps and indignity in prison to make Freedom and Madaraka Day possible. If our parents resorted to excuses, chose easy life and lamented rather than fight, Madaraka would not have come when it did.

Today, more than ever, we need to embrace the sacrifices of our parents.
On this day, under these unique circumstances, let us reflect on patriotism, sacrifice, personal responsibility, dignity of our people and respect for our nation as the goals in our battle against a disease that is determined to colonize us and turn our lives upside down.

These ideals are going to be critical not only as we battle COVID-19 but also in the gigantic task of reconstructing and rebuilding our nation.

We know that most Kenyans have been adversely affected. Jobs have been lost, homes have been washed away by the floods and locusts are ravaging parts of our country. We are going through a treble tragedy. But we also know that the Kenyan resilience and the mood to fight will eventually triumph over this tragedy.
We need to work together as one people and one nation so that we can rise again, as a nation.

By embracing these ideals, we shall all be heroes when this battle is over and won.
God Bless you.
God Bless Kenya.
H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH
JUNE 1, 2020.

H.E Raila Odinga’s Op-Ed in the Mail and Guardian: The United States and Europe cannot abandon their leadership roles now.

H.E Raila Odinga’s Op-Ed in the Mail and Guardian: The United States and Europe cannot abandon their leadership roles now.

Today, the whole world stands where Europe was in 1945. Europe recovered then thanks to massive international assistance. That same attitude of cooperation and solidarity is needed now more than ever before.

When I arrived in Germany for my studies in 1962, West Germany and virtually all of Europe were in the middle of a major reconstruction to repair the damage of World War II. The determination to keep fascism out of Europe, and the fear of a third world war, jolted the free world into action to save Europe from destitution.
So much help got pumped into West Germany that about a decade after the war, one would have been forgiven for believing that it was Germany that had won World War II. It was not European money that repaired Europe.
It was America’s leadership, through the famous Marshall Plan, that got Europe back on its feet again. Today, the whole world stands where Europe was in 1945. The world finds itself in the middle of a grim and disruptive pandemic.
Strangely though, while humanity learnt from the 20th century wars and crafted an international system to deal with their consequences – and to avoid similar devastation in the future – we have responded to Covid-19 as if there has been no precedent.
After the initial shock, countries are weighing up reopening their operations, including international travel and tourism. This move needs to be accompanied by a new resolve: that the international system that emerged from the devastation of World War II should be strengthened, not undermined.
The world has no alternative to the United Nations and its support bodies like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organisation; and to ideals like international security, free markets and democracy.
Cooperation, coordination and solidarity should guide the search for vaccines and cures for Covid-19. At the end of World War II, the role of saving Europe and, by extension, the world, passed on to the United States, who – together with the Soviet Union – liberated West Germany.
The US then went ahead to provide the money to rebuild Europe and proceeded to craft an alliance (the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO) to help defend Europe. America at that stage showed what is possible when nations cooperate in a spirit of enlightened self-interest.
The US, in tandem with Europe, can once again bring the world to one table and lead it into recovery and reconstruction. Collectively, they have the experience, the technology and the institutions to lead this process: if they can summon the will and a sense of debt to the world.
Now, more than at any time since World War II, an alliance that brings the entire world to one table to address the health and economic consequences of Covid-19 and to chart a path for tackling similar crises in the future is needed.
With leadership at the global level, the post Covid-19 reconstruction period could be the start of something interesting, just like the Marshall Plan led to the formation of NATO and the institutionalization of support for liberation from colonialism.
The US offer of help for Europe came with the requirement that nations get their act together. In Africa, that is a debate already underway. The idea that this continent must act in unison to strengthen its systems with regard to food security, healthcare, infrastructure development, intra-Africa trade and governance is taking root.
For instance, the third African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum Covid-19 Roundtable just agreed to redouble efforts to facilitate infrastructure coinvestment partnerships with African governments and development finance partners. The group has its focus on industrial infrastructure related to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, as well as healthcare and agriculture sectors.
In other words, Africa is already organizing itself for post-Covid, just like the rest of the world. But Africa has more issues to be put on the table. It’s going to be extremely problematic for Africa to service its debt and finance reconstruction and recovery at the same time.
There is therefore a need for bilateral and multilateral discussions into debt write-offs and rescheduling for Africa. These efforts require financial, political and diplomatic backing on a global scale. More importantly, they need broad global agreement on how nations are going to relate and transact business post-Covid-19.
In this regard, Covid-19 arrived at the wrong time. In recent years, we have seen nations that led or benefited from a globalized approach to world problems retreat from the international stage. These include the current ‘America First’ movement in the US and the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign that led to the United Kingdom pulling out from the European Union. While much has been made of this trend, history tells us that a rethink of such positions is always possible in response to emerging circumstances.
We know, for instance, that both Democrats and Republicans campaigned on the platform of “America First” in the 1916 presidential election, even as World War I raged in Europe and other parts of the world. However, on 2 April 2 1917, President Woodrow Wilson – despite embracing the ‘America First’ motto during his campaign – went before a joint session of Congress to seek a declaration of war against Germany, arguing that “the world must be made safe for democracy”. That realization and change of heart needs to be a guide amid the devastation of Covid-19.
It is still possible for the present administrations in Europe and the US to rethink and re-engage with the world. After all, even at the end of World War II, the US was reluctant to involve itself in Europe. When President Harry Truman started pouring money into Europe in 1947, nobody could tell whether he would be re-elected in 1948 (he was). With no end or cure in sight, and little knowledge of where the pandemic goes from here, the world is calling for a change of mindset.
Instead of withdrawal, we need engagement on a global, not national scale – no matter what the slogans that leaders used to win power might say. Although all nations have been devastated by this pandemic, that should be a reason for all of us to think beyond our borders, not to retreat.
With this disease, no nation is safe as long as one nation is under attack. This is more so as we consider reopening our economies, including international travel and commerce. Those who have in the past advocated the global system, and those who have benefited from it, must once again champion it, expand its reach and oversee a uniform return to good health for the world.
The US and Europe must therefore not build walls to keep the world out. They have to provide leadership, using the institutions firmly under their control, and experience gathered from previous, similar crises.

WISHING A REWARDING EASTER TO ALL KENYANS:

WISHING A REWARDING EASTER TO ALL KENYANS:

WISHING A REWARDING EASTER TO ALL KENYANS:
For over 2000 years, Easter has remained a symbol of the triumph of hope over
hopelessness, and good over evil.

That spirit must remain with us as we mark Easter amid the gloom cast by COVID-19 and its long shadow of fear and death here and across the globe.

Even though we can’t gather in our places of worship or conduct the usual group celebrations in remembrance of the arrest, persecution, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let’s have the faith that with God fighting by our side, just as he did for our Lord, we shall overcome. With our unrelenting faith and effort, just as those of the disciples back them, the forces of fear, gloom and death that were defeated more than 2000 years ago can be defeated today.

Let’s use this unusual Easter to reflect on our faith as a nation, stand with one another as a people and pray for the healing of our country.

Mama Ida and I wish all Kenyans a rewarding and uplifting Easter.

H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH 9TH APRIL 2020

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH: ON CORONAVIRUS, LET’S LISTEN TO THE GOVERNMENT:

STATEMENT BY H.E. RAILA ODINGA; EGH:
ON CORONAVIRUS, LET’S LISTEN TO THE GOVERNMENT:
This morning, the Government of Kenya confirmed our country’s first case of the coronavirus.
The confirmation and the systematic disclosure of information indicate the existence of a clear plan by the Government to provide our citizens and visitors to our country with timely and accurate information on the evolving situation.
We are pleased with the whole- of- government approach to handling the threat and protecting the health of Kenyans. We further appreciate that the government is leveraging all of our resources to respond to the threat.
As a country, we are in this together and we appeal to our citizens not to panic but instead cooperate with the Government which has factual and science based advice on how we must proceed.
A raft of measures has been announced by the Government, including the suspension of inter- school events, prison visits, church crusades and all other public gatherings.
These measures will definitely cause disruptions across our country. But we must adhere to them as the best scientific advices that we can rely on to overcome the danger. I urge all relevant ministries to continue to provide, as soon as they have it, as much clear scientific and medical information as is possible so that our people can be guided by science and not rumors that will cause unnecessary panic.
As we embark on these steps; let us keep reminding ourselves to do the basic things that will make all the difference. In particular, let’s observe basic hygiene. Let’s remember to wash our hands and avoid shaking hands.
H.E RAILA ODINGA; EGH MARCH 13, 2020.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT FOPA ASOCIATION KENYA/ BBI CONSULTATIVE FORUM; 27TH FEBRUARY 2020.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT FOPA ASOCIATION KENYA/ BBI CONSULTATIVE FORUM; 27TH FEBRUARY 2020.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH AT FOPA ASOCIATION KENYA/ BBI CONSULTATIVE FORUM; 27TH FEBRUARY 2020.
It’s a great pleasure to be among so many real colleagues. Many times, many people forget that I am no longer in Parliament.
Many times you hear Raila is doing or not doing this or that and you may be tempted to believe I am something other than a former MP and leader of my party ODM. The fact is, I am a former Member of Parliament and you are the real and true colleagues.
Being a parliamentarian has its advantages. It puts you at the Centre of action. You are able to shape the country through laws. You are able to say “I am an elected representative of my people.” Of course there is a salary and other allowances attached to all these.
But being former parliamentarian as we are here is not that bad either. It enables us to observe developments, the comings and goings in our country dispassionately and a little more objectively. Sometimes it enables us look back at positions we took before in the context of what we have now and come to a different conclusion about what we did or what should be done now.
I want to believe that this forum is inspired by that spirit of wanting to share what we know from the experiences of being at the Centre of the action and outside. I am glad that as leaders, you have declared governance as your area of interest. And I am not shy to refer to you as leaders. At its best; leadership is not about positions we hold.
The sixth President of the U.S. John Quincy Adams said: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I believe you are leaders despite being out of Parliament and I will share my thoughts with you with that recognition in mind.
Our country remains a nation on the move, one that refuses to settle. Change or the struggle for change is and has always been the only constants in our country. And that struggle for change is as old as this nation. That spirit of always fighting for more and better for our people has separated our country from many in Africa.
I believe it has made us a better nation. Since 1991, we have been able to restore multiparty democracy, form a grand a coalition government, promulgate a new constitution, introduce Devolution, create affirmative action positions for women and other disadvantaged groups, among other changes, all in a bid to improve our governance.
Today, our country is in the middle of another bid for change. That bid is a product of the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and myself that gave birth to the Building Bridges Initiative. As you are aware, the BBI has identified nine thematic areas where action is required if we are to be a better-governed and stronger nation in the years and decades ahead.
None of the nine issues is more critical than the other. But the threat posed to our nation by some is urgent, disturbing and forever present. All of you here have been through electoral contests and you will agree with me that divisive elections present clear and present danger to the survival of our country.
You saw it in the run up to 1992 elections and after. You saw it in 1997. You saw it in 2007 and it was rearing its ugly head again in 2017.
The anger and danger caused by the reality and feeling of marginalization of regions, communities and age groups is real in our country. So is the danger of the ever-growing ethnic antagonism, lack of ethos, insecurity and, above all, corruption. We have identified corruption as an existential threat to our nation.
It is killing our economy, making our politics increasingly dirty and violent, compromising our security and confining citizens to unnecessary suffering because public resources are diverted to private accounts and enterprises.
Some of you were in Parliament in the era of Cabinet Ministers instead of Cabinet Secretaries and in the era when the office of the Leader of Official Opposition was fully functional with State funding. The BBI is recommending we revert to these as part of our traditions and as a way of strengthening governance.
As a country, we must reinvent the spirit of selfless service and not riches that was the original drive in the quest for public offices. As recently as 1992, getting rich was not the drive for getting into public office especially Parliament.
I recall that in 1992, when we collected Jaramogi’s allowance of about Ksh 4,000 and took it to him, he was surprised that people were being paid at all. He said he had thought being in Parliament was just a service they were rendering to the nation.
With a net pay of Ksh20, 737, Jaramogi and his colleagues were able to serve their constituents to their satisfaction. I remember that as recently as 2002 when I was minister for Energy, my net pay of Ksh70, 650 served me just fine.
I am not in any way trying to call for low pay for legislators. I am aware the cost of living has risen over the years and the value of our currency has gone down. But there is an important fact behind these past modest salaries. It is that public service was not meant to enrich people. Our pride as parliamentarians was the honour to serve our country.
That is currently deeply corrupted. It is the spirit we need to reinvent. It will help us reject the moneybags wrecking our country, our economy and our politics through the false generosity of purporting to be contributing to the public what has been stolen from them.
And we want to strengthen devolved systems and the accountability around them by ensuring more resources go to the counties and that those resources serve the intended purposes. Our country needs your guidance based on your experience in these matters.
Some of these problems we are confronting today have been with us for generations. In fact, some of us have accepted them as way of life. Theft of public resources is now called hustling.
Dividing people along ethnic lines is now called fighting for my people. The sacking of corrupt and incompetent individuals is now called targeting our people. Changing this pattern of events is not going to be easy. But it must and has to be done or we will have no nation to save.
I have said it before and I will say it again. Kenya must change course. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And it has to be this year. Change is coming through the BBI. We must join hands in this attempt to get our nation back on track. To achieve this, we will have to rise beyond merely being leaders and be great leaders.
Former US First Lady Rosalyn Carter told us: “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”
It is my wish that we rise and not just be leaders but great leaders.
Thank you.

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:

Statement by H.E. Raila Odinga on the Death of President Daniel arap Moi:
Mama Ida and I mourn the passing of President Daniel arap Moi. We give thanks for his long life of service to this nation.
President Moi has had a chequered career and leaves behind a rich history, from representing the Rift Valley in the Legislative Council to MP for Baringo Central, Vice President and President.
I first met President Moi in 1958 when my father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga invited the first African elected members of the Legislative Council to our home in Bondo. I was a teenager and Moi, who represented the Rift Valley, was in the company of Masinde Muliro, Lawrence Oguda, Tom Mboya, Bernard Mate, James Muimi and Ronald Ngala. They operated under the auspices of African Elected Members Organisation, with Jaramogi as their chairman.
From that initial encounter, our paths and careers were later to cross in various capacities and roles.
Moi inherited a fairly polarised political landscape when he became President in 1978. He strived to hold the country together as he struggled to unite the people, often with mixed results.
The decision by his administration to make the country a single party state became a major point of disagreement in our politics that caused the clamour for the repeal of Section 2 (a).
To his credit, President Moi gave in to the clamour for change and allowed the country to return to multiparty politics. He was constantly able to ease pressure in the country through incremental reforms.
Moi and I reconciled after the political differences of the 1980s and early 90s and we were able to work together to bring more reforms to the country.
Our cooperation gave way to merger with his party KANU, which put the country firmly on the path to a new constitution by enabling the formation of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC).
In his retirement, again to his credit, President Moi carried and conducted himself with complete dignity befitting an elder statesman.
I am grateful for the time I spent with him. At this moment of mourning, our hearts and prayers are with the family and the entire Moi clan.
H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH. TUESDAY, 4TH FEBRUARY 2020.

HEAD OF ANGLICAN CHURCH SUPPORTS BBI:

HEAD OF ANGLICAN CHURCH SUPPORTS BBI:

HEAD OF ANGLICAN CHURCH SUPPORTS BBI:
Hon. Raila Odinga this morning held a meeting with the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is visiting the country. The meeting was also attended by the Head of the Anglican Church in Kenya Bishop Jackson ole Sapit who was accompanied by other senior ACK clergy.
The leaders discussed the political environment in the country, with particular focus on the Building Bridges Initiative and the working relationship between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga.
The Archbishop of Canterbury described the BBI report as “a remarkable document that can be used to “change the ethos and culture of the country.”
The top Anglican leaders described the “handshake” between President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga, which gave birth to the BBI as “real statesmanship” with a “powerful transformational force.”
“A year before the 2017 elections, I had told the President that this country would be much better the day he and Mr. Odinga step back and agree to work together. It was the wish of the Anglican Church that the two work together. As a Church, we thank God that our prayers were answered and we remain convinced that posterity will remember the two positively,” bishop Sapit said.
Mr. Odinga briefed the church leaders on the journey to the working relationship with the president, the setting up of the BBI team and the on-going steps to involve more people in the preparation of the final document.
They discussed how to work with the church to help provide public education on the report in a non-partisan, non-political way.
Archbishop Welby noted that the bulk of the BBI report focuses on addressing socio-economic inequality as the source of the tensions and anger experienced in the country and appealed to Kenyans not to lose focus of those.
“There has been some focus on positions being created but we see that as part of the wider effort to create opportunity for more communities to come to the negotiating table and deal with imbalances,” the Archbishop said.
He asked the country’s leadership to establish ways that will enable the church to take up the role of highlighting the good things in the document.
He praised the country for embarking on the harder but more reliable way of uniting a country which is to create its identity.
“The BBI takes this positive route. The country should feel proud of what it has achieved,” Mr. Welby said.
He was due to meet other leaders on different matters.
End.
DENNIS ONYANGO
JANUARY 21, 2020.

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, AU; AT THE FIRST REGIONAL MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE LAPSSET CORRIDOR PROGRAM

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, AU; AT THE FIRST REGIONAL MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE LAPSSET CORRIDOR PROGRAM

REMARKS OF H.E. RAILA ODINGA, EGH, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, AU; AT THE FIRST REGIONAL MINISTERIAL MEETING
ON THE LAPSSET CORRIDOR PROGRAM 14TH JANUARY 2020 AT THE SAROVA HOTEL, MOMBASA;
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for honouring our invitation on short notice.
Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy New Year 2020 and a prosperous new decade for Africa.
We are here to breath fresh life into a vision unveiled in March 2012 when the Prime Minister of The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Late Meles Zenawi, The President of The Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit and The Former President of The Republic of Kenya, H.E. Mwai Kibaki, recognised the importance of interconnectivity between the three countries to the rest of the Continent. As Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya then, I was honoured to be part of that vision and at the event at which our three countries inaugurated the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia (LAPSSET) Transport Corridor to provide seamless connectivity, enhance trade facilitation and logistics within the region and beyond.

Today, I invited you to convene in my capacity as the AU-High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa to appreciate the distance we have travelled and to re-evaluate, refocus and re-energise that vision of 2012 and give new impetus to the implementation of the LAPSSET Corridor.

We agreed back in 2012, and we agree today that realising the East-West Trans-Continental Beltway – connecting Lamu Port to Douala/Kribi (Cameroon) seaports via Juba and Bangui is critical to connecting our region to the rest of Africa and the world for easier movement of goods and services.

On the surface, our task is simple. It is to consider the Report of the LAPSSET Technical Committee meeting and give some detailed thought to the fact that the LAPSSET Corridor implementation is a Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) project under the African Union with transnational and transformational components.

In the end however, what we do here today will go along way in triggering off a chain of events that are expected to revitalize the LAPSSET Corridor program and solidify a shared approach to the implementation of the LAPSSET Corridor Program.

It our expectation that at the end of our deliberations here, we will establish a representative Steering Committee as an umbrella body to coordinate the implementation of the corridor. We are also expected to come up with a roadmap towards the establishment of the Umbrella body.

This meeting is also expected to come up with a program for the review of the progress with regard to the establishment of an institutional framework/mechanism and establishment of the umbrella body.
On paper, and in this room, these may look like simple tasks of little significance in the grand scheme of things.

In the grand reality though, the meeting here is the stuff of history; it is the stuff of those events that triggers chain reactions that change the destiny of nations and regions.
Our nations will not be the same again when LAPSSET takes off fully as a regional and multinational enterprise.
I returned from China just the other day. They have a saying there that “if you want to get rich, you must first build roads.” This approach was a central pillar of Chinese economic advancement during the past four decades.
It is taking roots in Africa in the context of the African Continental Free Trade Area formulated in 2018.

What we append our signatures to here today will mark the start of this region’s contribution to Africa’s dream for better cross-border land transport that provides links between inland centres and the ocean ports, and services cross-border trade among countries and regions located far from the ocean ports.
It will provided the much needed route for specialized time-sensitive high-value products get a faster means of reaching distant markets.

Historically, Africa has had connectivity and traded with itself before even when the mode of movement was rudimentary and torturous. The lack of integration that followed is a product of post colonisation and post independence politics and not some inheritance from history.
That is why to reconnect, political goodwill and participation is critical and that is why the region’s political leadership is represented here.
It is my hope that from this meeting, we will come up with realistic recommendations, firm commitments to realising them and clear time frames for implementation.
I wish you fruitful deliberations