UN boss Guterres praises Kenya as symbol of Africa’s progress
Kenya is a symbol of Africa’s positive story which is replacing the usual narrative of unending crises, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has said.
Guterres said Africa is now seen as a land of achievement and opportunity and that no country reflects this image more than Kenya.
He heaped praise on the country s on Wednesday for its governance capacity, vibrant civil society, business community and free press.
“Kenya is an example of all aspects that can be copied not only on the African continent but also around,” he said.
“[This proves] that in today’s international community there are countries making sure the three pillars of the UN – peace and security, sustainable and inclusive development and human rights – can be fully met.”
He addressed a joint press conference with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in Nairobi after they held talks.
Guterres said the United Nations was ready to support Kenya so it can achieve sustainable development goals.
He thanked the government for supporting the United Nations office in Nairobi, which he said was being utilised fully to support operations in other parts of Africa and the world.
The secretary general also thanked Kenya for its commitment to peacekeeping in Somalia and other parts of the world.
“Kenyan forces have played a very important role that I would like to underline publicly and express our deep gratitude and respect,” said Guterres.
He called for more support for Amisom so the mission to ensure Somalia’s state functions are restored is accomplished.
“It is the moment for the international community to be more clear in its support for Amisom, that has been an extremely important element in the fight against terrorism,” he said.
He noted that the country, whose new President is Mohamed Abdullahi, should be able to collect taxes to serve and defend its people.
Uhuru said the new UN boss, who has also served as Prime Minister of Portugal, was an experienced worker familiar with Kenya and the whole region.
He thanked Guterres for assuring that the international community will work with Kenya to settle Somali refugees in Somalia and rebuild the county.
“I was very encouraged by the support the secretary general gave in the matter of the African Union Mission on Somalia (Amisom). We believe that if strengthened appropriately, we will end the threat posed by al Shabaab to Somalia and the region,” he added.
The President also announced that Kenya will host a Heads of State Summit for Igad member countries.
The March 25 meeting will discuss a durable solution for Somali refugees.
“The conference shows Kenya is willing to consult and listen to the views of those who wish Somalia and the region well,” he said and invited Guterres to the summit.
Uhuru further thanked the UN boss for showing enthusiasm in working with Kenya and the continent for collaborative answers to the problems that still trouble the region and the continent.
“A clear sign of that commitment is the secretary general’s reaffirmation of the vital place of Unep, HABITAT and UNON as key institutions hosted in the global South,” said Uhuru.