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39TH IGAD EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT

Uhuru calls for Africa unity to solve regional problems at Igad meet

President Kenyatta said the Horn of Africa is facing various challenges.

In Summary

• President Kenyatta says it is incumbent upon regional leaders to work together and to do so boldly and creatively to navigate the multiple crises the region faces

•  Sudan leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan says regional cooperation among all the member states is significant in dealing with challenges facing the Horn of Africa

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said that Kenya will continue to use its global voice to advance African solutions to African problems during the IGAD Summit.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sudan leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh during the 39th Extraordinary IGAD Summit at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, on July 5, 2022
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Sudan leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh during the 39th Extraordinary IGAD Summit at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, on July 5, 2022
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on Horn of Africa leaders to work together to solve regional problems.

President Kenyatta said the Horn of Africa is facing various challenges.

In the past two years alone, he said, the region has had to deal with a desert locust invasion, the ongoing drought, threats related to violent extremism and armed conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.

“As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to work together and to do so boldly and creatively to navigate the multiple crises we face, seize opportunities as they emerge, and define the path of peace and sustainable economic development,” the President said.

He spoke during the 39th Extraordinary Igad Heads of State and Government Summit in Nairobi on Tuesday, June 5.

"It is in our interest to do so because I believe we have a shared vision to become a politically stable, peaceful and prosperous region. We cannot achieve sustainable development and prosperity without peace and security,” he added.

He said the Igad meeting is of immense importance to Kenya and the region because Kenya’s political and economic stability is dependent on the stability of the Igad region.

“That is why we will continue to invest heavily in regional efforts to secure peace and security,” he said.

In this regard, Uhuru committed that Kenya will remain actively involved in regional and international efforts to search for peace, stability and development in the region.

Kenya has previously been involved in the Sudan talks, is currently engaged in the South Sudan Peace Process and Ethiopia, and has its troops in Somalia under African Union Transition Mission in Somalia.

In the region — but outside Igad — President Kenyatta is leading the Nairobi Initiative, which is trying to pacify the eastern DRC under the EAC framework.

“Kenya will continue working towards strengthening the conflict resolution capacity and overall capability of our regional institutions and in particular the EAC, IGAD and the AU towards making them more effective towards accelerating the transition towards the peaceful and prosperous region that we also aspire to achieve,” Uhuru said.

Further, the President said, Kenya as the non-permanent member of UNSC, will continue to use its global voice on behalf of the people of the region to advance Africa’s solutions to African problems.

AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Odeoye said the Igad meeting is of paramount importance coming at a time the region faces political, humanitarian, peace and security development challenges. 

Sudan leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who leads the military-led transition council, said regional cooperation among all the member states is significant in dealing with challenges facing the Horn of Africa.

He listed the challenges as drought and desertification, the Covid-19 pandemic, economic integration, counterterrorism, cross-border crimes, and illegal immigration, all of which no state, he said, can solve unilaterally.

He said joint efforts among states are vital in succeeding in dealing with the challenges.

EU Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger vouched for multilateralism, noting that climate change and viruses don’t respect borders, and that border issues play a role in one way or another in all conflicts bedevilling the region.

“On peace and security, we believe Igad’s role in the region remains key. Igad played a critical role in several peace processes in South Sudan, Somalia, Gulf of Aden and countering violent extremism,” Ambassador Geiger said.

She added that the EU has supported Igad politically and financially and will continue to do so in the future.

"Why? Because we are convinced that only through regional collaboration that multiple challenges in the Horn can find a lasting solution," the envoy said.