President Uhuru Kenyatta is now pushing for the cancellation of debts owed by African countries amid the Covid-19 crisis that has crippled economies.
Speaking during a virtual conference of European and African leaders on Thursday, July 16, the Head of State called for the crafting of a joint European Union and Africa Covid-19 response strategy.
President Kenyatta said the EU-Africa Covid-19 strategy should among other interventions pursue the cancellation of debts owed by African countries.
The President’s remarks come at a time the International Monetary Fund has raised Kenya’s risk of debt distress to high from moderate due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Kenya’s debt stood at 61.7 per cent of GDP at the end of last year, up from 50.2 per cent at the end of 2015.
Today’s virtual conference attended by President Kenyatta majorly focused on the proposed establishment of the Africa-Mediterranean-Europe (AME) Foundation
The setting up of AME Foundation as a platform to enhance development discourse and interactions between Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe is being championed by the Former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
The President supported the proposal to establish the Foundation saying the initiative will help inject new ideas needed to scale up collaboration between the three regions.
“I, therefore, welcome with enthusiasm the proposal to establish the Africa-Med-Europe (AME) Foundation. The Foundation will complement the existing Africa-European continental cooperation in addressing the emerging global challenges,” said President Kenyatta.
Uhuru said the foundation should be structured to be a robust platform for the promotion multilateralism and inclusivity.
“It will also be imperative for the Africa-Med-Europe Foundation to be a voice against unilateralism and be a champion in the promotion of inclusive and consultative decision making by our continent,” he added.
“In this context of inclusivity, the Foundation should also recognize the critical role of the private sector, the academia and civil society.”
He endorsed the proposal to include the setting up of the EMA Foundation as an agenda during the next AU-EU summit scheduled for October this year.
“I also agree and concur with the idea that the next Africa Union-European Union Summit can present an excellent opportunity and platform to call for the establishment and support for the Africa-Med-Europe Foundation,” he said.
The virtual meeting was addressed by Presidents Macky Sall (Senegal), Issoufou Mahamadou (Niger), Mohamed Ould Ghazouni (Mauritania) and Roch Mach Kabore (Burkina Faso).
President Macky Sall supported the establishment of the EMA Foundation saying the institution will help address the changes happening on the African continent.
President Kabore reiterated President Kenyatta’s sentiments that EMA will assist in advancing multilateralism and global solidarity, especially in post-Covid-19 recovery.