Africa: Speech By His Excellency Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, C.G.H., President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces During Official Closing of the Ticad Vi Summit At Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Excellencies,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have come to the end of this 6th TICAD Summit and on behalf of my colleagues and fellow Heads of State, I want to simply and sincerely thank all of Africa’s partners and friends in attendance, for contributing to a spirited dialogue and a productive exchange over the last two days.

I want to extend special thanks to Prime Minister Shinzo, the people of Japan, and all the co-organisers of this event–including the African Union Commission, UNDP, the OSSA and the World Bank Group, for their investment towards making this historic conference possible.

I’d also like to single out Amb. Ben Ogutu, Special Envoy for TICAD, and Director-General TICAD VI Secretariat, and his entire team, who worked tirelessly over the course of many months to deliver an exceptional Summit.

Their labour has not been in vain; I think we can agree that that the Conference has been an unmitigated success. Once again, a tremendous vote of thanks to each and every stakeholder who made that happen.

And thank you to all of you–over 6,000 of you—for attending this conference. I think we all have reason to be proud: not just of the valuable insights we’ve shared, but, crucially, of the tangible outcomes we have agreed to.

These are extensively outlined in the Nairobi Declaration which we collectively adopted in the course of our meeting. The declaration provides a blue-print for our continued engagement as stakeholders in this continent, over the next three years. It encompasses a wide range of issues — from infrastructure, to energy, to health systems to food security to regional cooperation. It is specific, measurable and actionable–and I am confident that through it’s implementation, the people of Africa can truly look forward to a brighter, more prosperous future for themselves and for their children.

This declaration is not just another document; just as this Conference was not just another meeting.

Indeed, through this engagement we have been reminded of how far Africa has come, how quickly her fortunes have changed, and how drastically our world has evolved along in terms of its approach to the continent.

Both our continent and our world have come so far from the era where decisions about Africa’s future were made in distant hallways and boardrooms, in shadowy corners of the world that were unknown to most of Africa’s citizens. Both our continent and the world, have come so far from the days when–dictatorship, not democracy–defined the often ill-considered decisions that were made about the continent, by amorphous institutions that made little sense to ordinary African individuals.

We have come so far from the time when solutions were prescribed without the input of Africa’s people. Indeed, looking back to the very origins of our continent, we have come so very far from another conference that took place in Berlin, just over a century ago, where the very existence of our nation-states was arbitrarily authorized by ignorant powers who knew neither the plight nor the needs nor the wants or desires of African peoples.

The synergistic spirit of this conference stands in such marked stark contrast to the sinister spirit of that one, and it is what gives me hope that all the outcomes we have agreed to at this meeting–together, through discussion, debate, negotiation and dialogue–have every hope of not just being implemented, but of bringing about the kind of transformative change we all long for.

As we’ve heard, that change is already underway. And that change will come. And I want to particularly thank the Government of Japan for believing in that change; for believing in the future of this continent, and for seeking to actively forge a shared future of prosperity with us, rather than trying to do things for us; for seeking to be a partner to Africa, rather than, to paraphrase my father the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, a ‘professional friend.’

I’m confident that as the world continues to engage Africa in that spirit–the cooperation will benefit not just the people of Africa, but the citizens of the world at large who will no doubt be improved by the technical, and cultural innovation and ideas of a truly liberated people who have all the opportunities of the world open to them.

Let us keep moving together to that day. We are closer to it now, than ever before.

Once again, thank you all for attending. For those who are staying on: I hope you will enjoy exploring the beauty of this country. I particularly recommend our coastal beach resorts, and our world renowned Maasai Mara where the wildebeest migration is taking place.

For those who are leaving, we wish you safe travels, and hope life brings us together again.

Thank you.

Source: Kenya Presidency.