Kenya joins AU presidential flagship projects initiative

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, (in blue) and Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru arrive at
Addis Ababa Ethiopia for the Africa Union summit. [PHOTO: PSCU]

Kenya: Kenya is the latest member of the African Union’s Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI).

The disclosure was made by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he addressed the Nepad Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he is attending the 24th heads of state summit of the African Union. The initiative consists of 20 members.

Speaking when he addressed the orientation committee, President Kenyatta expressed gratitude it had “opened up its meetings to allow member countries to participate and contribute to pertinent discussions of New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) implementation.”

“It is this expanded participation that has afforded Kenya the opportunity to table its request for inclusion of the regional flagship project Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (Lapsset) – in the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative,” he said.

He said Lapsset, which is the single largest project of its nature in Eastern Africa “once completed it will significantly boost the economic growth of not only Kenya but the region in general...”

The project, which covers Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda is estimated to cost Sh2.7 trillion.

Kenyatta also paid tribute to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, for co-opting Kenya into the infrastructure initiative. “I thank my brother and colleague His Excellency President Jacob Zuma, for the consideration and announcement on the inclusion of Kenya to the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI),” he said.

Africa Union Commission’s strategic plan development revolves around five key pillars, namely peace and security, socio-economic and human development; integration, cooperation and partnership; culture; and institutions, capacity building and communication. The commission is the executive arm of the African Union.

PICI was mooted in 2011 during the 16th African Union Assembly of seven regional infrastructure projects that cover the five major economic blocs on the continent to be championed by African heads of state. Nepad is the technical coordinator and secretariat that undertakes periodic status analysis of the projects.

President Kenyatta also pledged to fast track implementation of the Lapsset project. “I am honoured by this recognition and confirm my Government’s commitment to accelerating implementation and completion of the Lapsset project,” he told the meeting.

Against this backdrop, Kenyatta promised to honour financial obligations to Nepad and “offer any support requested in implementation of its continental agenda.”

He also announced that Kenya had accepted to host the Second High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Coordination next year. The meeting to be held in February, will be the first ever to be held in Africa.