The African Caribbean Pacific Group of Countries (ACP) has hailed President Uhuru Kenyatta for transforming Kenya, and specifically for putting in place a strong economic agenda that will ensure the country’s sustained growth for years to come.
The ACP Committee of Ambassadors said they have been keenly following the progress the country is making in transforming its economy and the role it is playing in fostering regional integration.
The Secretary General of the ACP, Mr Patrick Gomes, while praising Kenya’s role in East Africa and the entire African continent, said they appreciate President Kenyatta’s push for stronger intra-ACP partnerships.
The Dean of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors, H Roy Mickey, said Kenya is an effective member of the ACP and has been sharing its experience in economic transformation especially through private public partnership with the rest of the countries.
“We have been keenly monitoring the acceleration of economic growth and the positive image of Kenya under your stewardship,” said Mr Mickey who is the Ambassador of Vanuatu to the EU and Belgium.
Mr Gomes and Mr Mickey spoke at the ACP House in Brussels where President Kenyatta addressed a gathering of the envoys.
President Kenyatta said the ACP, which was created by the Georgetown Agreement in 1975, stands at a critical moment and there was a need to deliberate on the future of its relationship with the EU as well as the rest of the world.
He said there was a need for the ACP to take stock of the geopolitical environment in which it finds itself following global shifts in policies that came after the end of the cold war.
“In view of these developments, we have a responsibility to find a new meaning for our solidarity and strength,” said the President.
The President said the new ACP-EU partnership should be different from the existing framework and should be based on partnerships rather than on patronage.
“We should curve for ourselves a place in global value chains. As a starting point towards this new beginning, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) should be implemented and continually reviewed with development in focus in a manner that reinforces our efforts to develop our productive capacity, and at the same time complement regional economic integration,” said the President.
President Kenyatta made the statement as he wrapped up his successful three day visit to Belgium where he delivered a keynote address at the 10th European Development Days (EDD), which is Europe’s premier development forum.
In his speech at the EDD, President Kenyatta said Africa is on a growth trajectory and was ready for more business with Europe based on partnerships.
The President, who arrived in Brussels on Wednesday, held several high-level talks including bilateral meetings with Belgium’s King Philippe and Prime Minister Michel.
He also held talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and officials of the European Investment Bank.
The President also engaged the Belgian business community when he attended a Belgium-Kenya Business Forum on Wednesday night.
On Thursday night, President Kenyatta met Kenyans living in Belgium.