Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Nairobi. For those who have joined us for the first time today; it is a pleasure to have you here. For those who have entered the country in the last 24 hours, you are most welcome to this beautiful country which we feel so blessed to call home.
Karibuni Sana and do take time to explore our city and our country in your down time. It is wildebeest migration season so if you have never witnessed that breathtaking wonder of the world, I recommend a trip to Maasai Mara when you have a moment. You won’t be disappointed.
Otherwise, I hope and trust you will enjoy your stay, and the hospitality of the Kenyan people, rest assured: there’s never a dull moment with Kenyans; whatever we do we do with zest–and I’m confident you will all discover that very soon.
We look forward to a robust and productive exchange of ideas during the TICAD meetings here this weekend. We look to a candid exchange of insights about the present situation on the continent, and shared a sense of fervour for the future of Africa.
The energy, dynamism and commitment which we have all brought to this conference; our shared resolve to solve some of the complex and enduring challenges facing the continent, is extremely refreshing.
But more encouraging, is the bold and boundless hope we all have for Africa; the sureness with which we face the future believing that whatever troubles lie behind us, and whatever challenges may await us, they are nothing compared to the bounty that lies before this great continent.
That hope is, in itself, is an encouraging reminder of how far this continent has come in a few short years; how much progress Africa and its partners have made together; how much distance we have put between ourselves and the pessimism that dogged the continent for decades; and how many stakeholders, around the world, now believe in the imminent growth, success and prosperity of Africa and it’s people.
Including all of you. I don’t think anyone necessarily needs to make a case for the promise of Africa anymore; I don’t think anyone needs to make a case for the possibilities that exist on the continent and the untapped potential just waiting to be harnessed and unleashed. But even so, for the avoidance of all doubt, allow me to offer a brief pitch nonetheless.
The landscape across the continent is rapidly changing: investments in infrastructure, energy, and education are unlocking the value of Africa’s abundant natural resources–including our dynamic youth. Economies are growing, diversifying, becoming more resilient and attracting investment from around the world.
Democracy is advancing even as the digitization of the continent becomes real: as mobile technology grows more common place and internet penetration increases across the continent.
11.Innovation is underway: and here at home we are proud to one of the world’s biggest innovations in mobile money–M-pesa.
Incomes are rising, Africa’s middle class is growing, and the challenges of unemployment are increasingly being met through the enterprising spirit of Africa’s people, and expansion of Africa’s industries.
The ease of doing business is improving in many African countries. Stability is being increasingly realized and while it is true that some countries remain afflicted by conflict, and that terrorism remains a threat–as it does throughout the world–more is being done in the 21st century to realize true peace and security on the continent.
In short, Ladies and Gentlemen, and as President Obama said while he was here last year, Africa is on the move.
And as this mammoth continent moves, it is sending shockwaves throughout the world and creating opportunities for investors globally. They too… you, too… can move with it. You can move with us. You can do that as investors–as partners in the private sector.
Indeed, I remain convinced that it is the private sector that holds the key to unlocking all the latent greatness of this continent, and opening up opportunity for all of Africa’s citizens.
As a country, we are going to great lengths to provide the conducive environment in which the private sector can flourish. Which is why I am particularly curious to see what contributions our engagement here will offer to the broader dialogue on African development and Japan-Africa relations.
So, I personally look forward to a stimulating exchange of thoughts, ideas, and feedback and I am sure that as we interact, we will no doubt strike upon solutions for the realization of broadly shared prosperity on the continent. I look forward to all of us working together to build up Africa.
With those remarks, it is now my singular pleasure to declare this session officially open.
Source: Kenya Presidency.