• President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke on Wednesday in Washington DC when he addressed leaders of the Atlantic Council at a forum dubbed “The Future of The US-Kenya Strategic Partnership”.
  • The Kenyan President said the US and the world at large have a lot to gain by making Africa work for its people.
  • The Head of State said Kenya is currently engineering its own homegrown solutions to political, social and governance challenges facing it through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged American institutions to desist from meddling into African democracies and instead support indigenous African solutions fashioned to address governance challenges facing the continent.

The Kenyan President who is in Washington said the US and the world at large have a lot to gain by making Africa work for its people.

He spoke on Wednesday in Washington DC when he addressed leaders of the Atlantic Council at a forum dubbed “The Future of The US-Kenya Strategic Partnership”.

President Kenyatta cautioned American institutions against advancing democracy as a one-size-fits-all prescription saying the approach undermines the foundations upon which the concept is based.

He instead called for African countries to be given opportunities to engineer new approaches that support and extend democracy in line with their realities.

“It requires bringing more nuance to how we make judgements about politics, and the resulting interventions countries like the United States should undertake," President Kenyatta said.

The Head of State cited Kenya as an example of an African country currently charting its own path to try and solve its governance challenges. He pointed out that the country is currently engineering its own homegrown solutions to political, social and governance challenges facing it through the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

He said the BBI process "is a homegrown (Kenyan) solution for a divisive political culture that has often sparked electoral crises over the last thirty years".

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and opposition leader Raila Odinga shake hands after meeting at Harambee House, Nairobi on March 9, 2018
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and opposition leader Raila Odinga shake hands after meeting at Harambee House, Nairobi on March 9, 2018

President Kenyatta then invited the Atlantic Council and similar American institutions to take interest in the BBI saying the process will deliver bold reforms that will advance inclusion, economic uplift, countering corruption and strengthening institutions.

“As a think-tank, you should delve deeper into the BBI process. It is not as simple as it looks. We have found a number of countries seeking to learn from it in trying to re-engineer their politics and social contracts.

“We have been open in sharing. In time, I believe that this may emerge as a unique model that can be adopted and domesticated elsewhere in Africa and worldwide,” President Kenyatta said.

United States President Donald Trump to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta at White House
United States President Donald Trump to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta at White House

On the US-Africa partnership, the President cautioned against the repeat of historical mistakes as he called on African and American institutions to focus on exploiting available business opportunities for the mutual economic benefit of all parties.

“We must begin to look at Africa as the world's biggest opportunity, if you can dare look at it with a fresh eye and a sense of history. And Kenya is a key country in converting that opportunity into mutual gain,” he said.