UK Foreign Secretary statement on Kenyan elections

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:made a statement on the Kenyan elections

Tuesday was an historic day for Kenya, with millions of Kenyans turning out to vote in the general election. The United Kingdom warmly congratulates President Kenyatta on his re-election. The UK and Kenya are longstanding friends and close partners. We look forward to building on our strong relationship, working together to advance our shared prosperity and security and to support Kenya’s development, for the benefit of all.

We commend the people of Kenya for their commitment to democracy and salute those who worked tirelessly and courageously towards holding credible elections, often in difficult circumstances. In the spirit of President Kenyatta’s words yesterday, now is the time for Kenyans to work together in peace to build their nation and forge their shared future. We join the Kenyan people in mourning those who have died, calling on those with influence to exercise restraint at this difficult time to ensure calm, and to honour the Kenyans who turned out in such number to vote to determine their future.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on Kenya’s General Elections

Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on Kenya’s General Elections

This has been a historic week for Kenya. As friends of Kenya and as nations who cherish democracy, we have been moved and inspired by the commitment millions of Kenyans have shown to having their voices heard through the ballot box.

We have worked hand in hand with the Kenyan people and with Kenya’s institutions to prepare for free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. We have been proud to walk alongside you in this important work.

There has always been only one way to run these elections: in line with the Kenyan Constitution and through the institutions mandated by that Constitution. The IEBC plays the central role. Its independence and its credibility have been, and remain, critical to the success of these polls.

In addition to the IEBC, the judiciary and many other institutions prepared for these elections and have worked to discharge their responsibilities as they have unfolded. Protecting their independence, too, is essential. We urge Kenyans to support them.

No election is perfect, whether in our own countries or in Kenya. A range of international and domestic observer missions have praised the IEBC for its work in exceptionally challenging circumstances. We join them in that recognition.

It is now vital that the IEBC be given the space to complete its task and make its final declaration of results, in line with Kenya’s Constitution and with the laws and regulations that govern its work. No one should short-circuit or curtail this process. Parties on all sides need to support the IEBC and allow it to finish its job.

If there are then disputes or disagreements, the Kenyan Constitution is very clear on how they are to be addressed. Violence must never be an option. No Kenyan should die because of an election. Kenya’s future is more important than any election. Leaders above all need to make that clear.

When they stood as candidates, every leader declared their aspiration to hold an office established in Kenya’s Constitution. Each candidate hoped one day to take an oath of allegiance to that Constitution as the winner of their election.

Now is the time for leaders across the political spectrum to demonstrate their commitment to that Constitution and to the institutions it creates and the values it sets out. Kenya’s democratic progress has been hard won and must be protected. Democracy is never easy and is always a work in progress. It should be cherished and nurtured by every Kenyan, and by leaders above all.

Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission Nairobi.

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AGOA Support Industrialisation and Regional Value Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa

AGOA Support Industrialisation and Regional Value Chains in Sub-Saharan Africa

The African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a cornerstone of United States (U.S.)-Africa trade relations and has facilitated mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between eligible African countries and the U.S. Total trade between the Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. stood at $33 bn in 2016. Through AGOA, non-energy exports from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) into the US, mainly for clothing and textile, autos and agriculture and food products have grown. However, more needs to be done to promote value-added trade and promote industrial development in Africa. AGOA eligible countries remain largely exporters of primary products.

Ministers of Trade from AGOA eligible-countries met on the sidelines of the 16th AGOA Forum held from 9-10 August 2017 in Lomé, Togo and developed a joint statement. In the Readout, they emphasised that AGOA must support industrialisation and promote regional integration, as well as value-addition so as to change the structure of the economies in the continent. The Forum was held under the theme “United States and Africa Partnering for prosperity through trade”. The Readout emphasised that the trade and investment relationship with the US should support the continent’s efforts to industrialise in line with Agenda 2063 and contribute to regional integration and support the development of regional value-chains. Policy issues should be on the basis of cooperation and should not limit the use of policy tools which Africa needs to industrialize.

Ministers noted that AGOA is an Act of U.S. Congress to promote two-way trade and investment with a view to support sustainable development. They agreed that the out-of-cycle review is an integral part of AGOA legislation. However, the review process should not be used in a way that would be detrimental to the spirit of AGOA and urged the United States to consider legitimate public policy issues that are critical to Africa’s development, in considering petitions for out-of-cycle reviews.

According to the Readout, strengthening the African regional integration agenda through initiatives such as the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), will boost Intra-Africa trade, promote the development Regional Value Chains and boost industrial development. This will increase the utilisation of AGOA preferences and expand benefits across a greater number of African countries.

In addition, there is a need for African countries to develop a common position on the trade and investment relationship with the United States.

The gathering was the first Forum between Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States under the Trump Administration.

AGOA is a unilateral Act of Congress that was introduced in 2000 to provide duty-free quota-free treatment for over 6 000 tariff lines into the United States market. The Forum is held on an alternating basis between Sub-Saharan Africa and the United States, with the 2016 Forum held in Washington, USA. The AGOA legislation was reauthorised in 2015 for 10 years until 2025.

For South Africa, AGOA has contributed to growth in trade with the United States in a mutually beneficial manner and is estimated to have created 62 000 jobs in South Africa and over 100 000 jobs in the U.S. More importantly, it has promoted intra-industry investments and linkages. South Africa’s exports to the U.S. grew from R64.4 billion in 2012 to R80.4 billion in 2016. Key South African exports into the U.S. include transport equipment, agricultural products, minerals and metal products, as well as chemical products.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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706th meeting of the PSC theme – Child Soldiers, Out of School Children in Armed Conflict in Africa

Press Statement of the 706th meeting of the PSC on the theme: “Child Soldiers/Out of School Children in Armed Conflict in Africa”

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), dedicated its 706thmeeting held on 26 July 2017, to an Open Session on the theme: “Child Soldiers/Out of School Children in Armed Conflict in Africa”.

Council and Participants took note of the opening statements made by the PSC Chairperson, H.E. Ambassador Bankole Adeoye of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chair of the PSC for the month of July 2017, and the Commissioner for Social Affairs, H.E. Mrs Amira ElFadil. They also took note of the presentations made by Ambassador Osman Keh-Kamara, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, Dr. A. Olatunbosun – Alakija, Chief Coordinator Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Humanitarian Coordination Nigeria, and Micheal Lumor, Advisor Humanitarian and Education of Save the Children. Council further took note of statements by AU Member States, Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RECs/RMs), AU partners, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and the European Union.

Council and participants recalled all existing AU instruments on protection of civilians in armed conflict, in particular the Organization of African Unity (OAU) 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and the AU 2009 Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, which is also known as the Kampala Convention. They also recalled all PSC communiqués and press statements on children in armed conflict situation in Africa. They highlighted the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which made Africa the only continent with region-specific child rights instrument, including the right to education. They underscored in particular article 22 of the charter, which calls on the State Parties to take all necessary measures to ensure that no child shall take a direct part in hostiles and refrain in particular, from recruiting any child. They further recalled resolution 1612 (2005) adopted in July 2005, in which the UN Security Council expressed its readiness to take appropriate sanctions against perpetrators of violence against children in armed conflict.

Council and participants reaffirmed their deep concern over the persistence of scourges related to violent conflicts and crisis situations in some parts of the African continent, which have resulted in losses of innocent lives, untold suffering to the people, internally displaced persons and refugees, destruction of infrastructure and the environment, as well as derailment of national development programmes and projects among others, affecting in particular the welfare of African children.

Council and participants expressed their deep concern at the high number of out-of-school children in Africa, particularly in countries affected by armed conflict and the resultant effect of extreme poverty, underlining that this disturbing trend need to receive the needed attention from political leaders, human rights activists, and other members of the international community including the AU, in line with the Assembly decision of January 2017 on the Implementation of the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps for Silencing the Guns in Africa by the year 2020. In this respect they welcomed the number of initiatives that have been launched during the past decades to curb the trend, although challenges are still impeding efforts to fight against out of school children and the use of child soldiers in armed conflict in Africa, in line with the Safe Schools Declaration adopted at the Oslo Conference on Safe Schools that defined guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. They also reaffirmed the Paris Commitment and Principles on the Protection of the Children in Armed Conflict, adopted by the International Conference “Free Children from War” held in Paris in 2007, building on the Cape Town principles and best practices.

Council and participants expressed particular solidarity with children from Member States affected by terrorism and violent extremism including those in the Lake Chad Basin Region, the Horn of Africa region, the Sahel region and in North Africa. In this regard, they called for a collective security efforts dealing with the scourges of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization in Africa, with a view to ensure respect for child rights and welfare.

Council and participants stressed once again the need to address the root causes of conflicts, including poverty, under-development, inequality and poor economic and political governance. In this context they recognized the imperative of comprehensive prevention approaches of conflict and crises on the continent, dealing with scourges such as proliferation of arms, violent extremism and terrorism.

Council and participants, in line with AU and UN relevant instruments and drawing lessons from specific cases like the conflict in Sierra Leone, stressed the need to continue developing a criminal legal framework to protect African children from armed conflict. In this regard they highlighted the need for African and International engagement with a view to ensure, through greater coordination of action and visibility, enhanced implementation of instruments regarding Child Soldiers and Out of School Children.

Council and participants also stressed the need to have enhanced coordination by the Departments of Social Affairs, Political Affairs, Science and Technology and Peace and Security, amongst others, to address issues pertaining to child soldiers and out-of-school children, in particular, their education, health and security. In this regard, they underscored the need for the AU to establish a comprehensive child protection architecture within the AU Commission, with a view to ensure the full implementation of various instruments adopted at continental and international level to this effect.

Council and participants reiterated the request to the Chairperson of the Commission to appoint a special envoy on children, peace and security, to ensure more attention and action on issues of children rights, safety, health, education and protection, particularly in conflict situation in Africa and to follow up and monitor the implementation of all mechanisms aimed at protecting the African child in conflict situation.

Council and participants recommended “Child Soldiering/Out of School Children” as an annual theme for a future AU Summit.

Council agreed to remain seized of the matter.

Distributed by APO on behalf of African Union Peace and Security Department.

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Source:: Press Statement of the 706th meeting of the PSC on the theme: “Child Soldiers/Out of School Children in Armed Conflict in Africa”

      

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