Uhuru, Raila join African leaders for AU meetings

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga interacts with African leaders during the 32nd AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga have held several meetings, at times jointly, with different parties at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

Uhuru began the day by hosting a historic meeting of world leaders on African renaissance as part of celebrations to mark the 400th Anniversary of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The breakfast meeting held on the sidelines of the ongoing 32nd Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government, sought to inspire a global conversation geared towards reconciliation, re-engagement and re-connection of all Africans and their descendants across the world.

During the meeting attended by five other presidents, Uhuru invited Raila to address the Heads of State where they shared their perspectives on African renaissance and pledged their support for the new initiative.

Leaders who spoke at the meeting, among them presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Hage Geingob (Namibia) and newly-elected DRC Congo leader Felix Tshisekedi, termed the initiative as historic and thanked President Kenyatta for bringing the matter back to the table after it was first mooted by the founding fathers of African states in the 1950s and 1960s.

Hellish conditions

Besides the brutal and hellish conditions that African slaves went through and the millions that lost their lives, President Uhuru observed that slavery eventually laid the grounds for colonialism, discrimination and racism.

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“It undermined families and nations, and introduced the damaging and false hierarchy of racial superiority and inferiority that continues to afflict mankind,” the President said.

Later on, Uhuru attended a high-level board meeting of the Smart Africa Alliance Initiative that is working to digitise the economies and trade of 24 countries across the continent.

Digital market

Smart Africa Initiative Alliance aims to leverage on technology to create a single digital market in a region that enjoys a population of over 600 million people.

The Alliance is chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who led the day’s session. Besides Kenya, South Africa and Egypt are among the other members of the Smart Africa Alliance.

Uhuru, who is a board member of the alliance, held brief side discussions with the Rwandan leader at the end of the board meeting before proceeding to other official engagements at the AU headquarters.

As the President headed to the second meeting, Raila met Nepad Secretary General Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, but it was not clear what they discussed as they did not address the media.

Last evening, the two leaders were expected to join Heads of State and governments for the official closing ceremony of the 32nd AU meeting.

On Sunday, Raila was pictured with among others Uhuru and South Africa’s Ramaphosa inside the plenary hall.

“I am also happy to add that the Nepad office is now known as the African Union Development Agency (Auda) and I will be working hand with them to ensure many of our projects can turn from dreams to reality,” he said.

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African Union summitRaila OdingaAddis Ababa