EAST AFRICA: Kenya’s Agenda on Africa Stability and Development

82

Africa is a rich continent with great resources such as gold, agriculture, wildlife and beautiful landscapes (just to name but a few). Many African countries are also bringing in potential investors. According to the World Bank Doing Business Report in 2020, Kenya is ranked 56th worldwide for ease of doing business. This is an improvement from last year when it was ranked 61st. Kenya functions as the commercial, economic, technological and logistic hub of East Africa. In 2018, ISOA expanded with the launch of a new Middle East/Africa Chapter through an African conference in Nairobi. This provided members with even more exposure to grow their network.

Recently, Kenya won the non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council. The country’s term will begin in January 2021 to 2022. Before contesting, it was endorsed by the African Union (AU) members as the African candidate for the UNSC seat. The East African Country will be replacing South Africa. Kenya intends to speak on behalf of Africa by coming up with reforms and policies that favor the continent. There is a quote that states, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” This win just shows how the country is continually increasing its influence in neighbouring regions and globally.

Here is Kenya’s agenda for its neighbouring regions and Africa in the UNSC:

 Building bridges
The politics in Kenya has over the years led to division among the different tribes. The President and the Opposition leader publicly shook hands as a sign to unify the Kenyans. They also have decided to work together through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to rewrite history by creating a united nation for all Kenyans living today and all future generations. This agenda is based on the strong advocacy for a reformed and strengthened UN rooted at the center of a rules based international system for the benefit of Africa.

 Regional peace & security
The East African Community (EAC) has recognized that economic integration can succeed only if peace, stability and security is established. Kenya has been, and continues to be active in both bilateral and multilateral Peace and Security initiatives. It was a significant player in the negotiations that produced the landmark peace agreement in Sudan, ending Africa’s longest civil war.

Kenya identifies peace diplomacy as a key pillar of its foreign policy. As an African member of UNSC, it believes having linkages between UN and Africa bodies will help solve or prevent regional conflicts which will lead to regional growth.

 Justice, human rights and democracy
This will be done through ideas that create useful environment for a just society.

 Peace keeping operations
When it comes to peacekeeping missions, 7 out of 14 are based in Africa. Additionally, African nations provide nearly half of the peacekeepers deployed worldwide including two thirds of the women. Seeking to have the UNSC provide clear mandate and financial support for peace keeping operations will strengthen peacekeeping in Africa.

 Gender equality
Women in Africa have to work twice as hard to make it in the industrial and leadership sector. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf served as the 24th President of Liberia and first female head of state in Africa. For economic growth in a country, there ought to be equal opportunities for both genders. Endorsing policies that will ensure women and men participate in conflict resolution programs is one among many steps in the right direction.

 Humanitarian action
Many Africans try to seek greener pastures abroad but are instead exploited and abused. This agenda is in pursue lasting solutions to challenges of forced migration.

 Climate Change
This has been a global discussion on how human activities have led to pollution that affects the environment and climate significantly. Increase in temperature and changing rainfall patterns are just some of the impacts felt in Africa due to climate change. It is important for Africa to take part in preventative ways against pollution.

 Youth empowerment
A high number of youths are unemployed and end up engaging in crimes and other illegal methods activities to make needs meet. What most lack is the opportunity and mentorship on building their career. In this, Kenya intends to uphold actions that include youth participation in key programs.

 Sustainable development
Carrying out successful missions requires cooperation between the UN and the African Union (AU). The joint effort such as the UN-AU Frameworks on Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security and Synergizing the UN SDGs for 2030 and AU’s Agenda 2063. This Partnership with African Union and African Member States like Kenya is vital to collective efforts for peace and continuation to do so will strengthen it.

 Counter-terrorism
Kenya has been a target of terrorism and it therefore understands the importance in working to be vigilant against such terrors. Regional and global cooperation will aid in counter-terrorism.

Kenya definitely has a role to play in enforcing Africa’s development for the good of the people. This is a great opportunity for the Middle East & Africa (MEA) committee to collaborate with Kenya’s government in enhancing Africa’s regional stability operations.