President William Ruto has appealed to the European Union (EU) to support Kenya's bid to deploy police officers to Haiti, even as he urged Europe to support Africa's quest to unlock its economic potential.
Partnerships with African nations, President Ruto said, were critical to boosting growth and development on the continent.
Addressing the EU Parliament on Tuesday, he said European support would legitimise the effort.
The mission is based on United Nations resolution, the Multinational Security Support Mission and Kenya is among the eight countries willing to contribute troops to Haiti.
But this has met with resistance in Kenya, even though the National Assembly has already given the green light for Kenya to send 1,000 police officers.
The deployment is subject to approval by the Senate and the provision of Sh36 billion, which Kenya says must be provided by international partners.
The troubled Caribbean nation is ruled by gangs estimated to number around 9,000.
“The Haiti mission will need some 5,000 men and women to address the challenge posed by armed gangs. . . The support from the EU will be instrumental in bolstering the initiative, providing the necessary resources and legitimacy,” President Ruto told the EU legislature.
Promoting long-term peace and stability goes hand in hand with building sustainable economic foundations, Dr Ruto said, and Africa is charting the course for green industrialisation and prosperity so that it can play its rightful role in shaping a better future for all.
For this to be effective, a Europe-Africa partnership must embody a reciprocal relationship based on shared objectives and cooperative efforts, he explained.
“This synergy has the power to drive transformative results for both continents. Concrete, actionable steps are the key to realising this mutually beneficial vision,” he said.
International financial architecture
President Ruto also urged the EU to support Africa's quest for reforms in the international financial architecture. While progress has been made, President Ruto lamented that implementation of the review of the Multilateral Development Banks' capital adequacy framework has been painfully slow.
“Our path to action is too slow,” he said. “I call on all of us to accelerate and expand these measures – such as with the tax working group we are launching with France at the COP next month,” said the president.
He explained that African economies are constrained by a lack of adequate and sufficient finance and investment. African countries pay five times more for debt "than we would if the multilateral development banks were adequately capitalised".
He also urged the EU to consider aligning its concessional and multilateral capital with Africa's climate agenda.
African presidents seeking investment for private projects face both real and perceived risk factors that hinder development on the continent, he said.
“It is about phasing down climate incompatible funding to shift them toward climate action, unlock much more concessional finance and lower risks. Here, I invite the European Investment Bank to play a bigger role in Kenya and on the continent with its expertise and resources,” Dr Ruto said.
Europe, President Ruto told the EU assembly, can draw on its vast experience in human resource development and retraining to reduce youth unemployment in Africa.
He said previous joint efforts had helped create millions of jobs and improve livelihoods across the continent.
“I extend a warm invitation to European companies, institutions, and organisations to explore the many opportunities our continent has to offer,” Dr Ruto told EU.
“Join us in a collaborative endeavour to unearth and develop solutions that leverage our respective strengths, drive innovation and benefit not only Africa but also contribute to global progress.”