The President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto has called on the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to be the continent’s standard-bearer on issues affecting African citizens. These include issues related to intra-African trade, climate change, and democracy and good governance. The call was made during an audience accorded to the President of the Pan-African Parliament, H.E. Hon. Chief Fortune Charumbira at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya.

The President of Kenya asked the Pan-African Parliament to play a role in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which presents immense opportunities for exponential economic growth through trade and investment. The implementation of the AfCFTA is in line with the African Union theme for 2023, and it is guiding the work of the Continental Parliament throughout this year.

“Today, Africa contributes only three per cent of global trade, yet it has 17 per cent of the world’s population and market,” President Ruto said. “By 2050, Africa will be home to 25 per cent of the world’s population and a huge market. We must organise the African market to work for us and not to work for others”.

Furthermore, President Ruto and H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira extensively exchanged on the issue of climate change and its increasing threat for the continent. President Ruto said it was time for Africa to end the use of fossil fuels and embrace renewable sources of energy, adding that the continent has the largest untapped reservoirs of clean energy.

In this regard, the President of the Pan-African Parliament extended an invitation to President Ruto to grace the 3rd African Parliamentarians Summit on Climate Policy and Equity, to be hosted by the Pan-African Parliament on 16-17 May 2023. The goal of the Summit is to galvanise a critical mass of stakeholders capable of catalysing broad support for pro-poor, just, equitable, locally-led and science-based decisions in NDCs implementation and overall climate action.

In addition to taking stock of the COP27 and overall Africa’s progress in the NDCs implementation since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the Summit will also interrogate the contentious question of just transition and come up with recommendations to guide the member countries on the direction which aligns with African realities.

Commending Kenya for holding free and fair elections, the President of the Pan-African Parliament briefed President Ruto on the Continental Parliament’s programmes as well as progress made by its leadership to renew, reenergize and reinvigorate the institution. H.E. Hon. Chief Charumbira also sought President’s Ruto’s intervention in ensuring that the Parliament is allocated adequate resources to achieve its mandate.

While underscoring the significance of the Pan-African Parliament within the African Union architecture, President Ruto urged the Parliament to amplify its voice on issues of interest to the continent. The Kenyan leader called on the Pan-African Parliament to encourage adherence to democratic principles across the continent, underpinned by free, fair and credible elections.

“It is the people who decide their leaders and we must continue to defer to them,” President Ruto said.

The delegation accompanying the President of the Pan-African Parliament to the meeting with H.E. William Ruto included Speakers of the Senate and National Assembly Rt. Hon. Amason Kingi and Rt. Hon. Moses Wetangula. The meeting was also attended by Environment and Climate Change Principal Secretary as well as members of the Kenyan delegation to the Pan-African Parliament.

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