Kenya and the United Kingdom will co-host a two-day conference on global partnership for education financing on July 25 and 26, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.
The President said the aim of the education financing conference is to raise 5 billion US dollars to ensure that all children, particularly those in developing countries, have equitable access to quality education.
He invited African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government to join the effort and commit to protect education budgets in their respective countries.
“You will all agree with me that our children received the harshest brunt of the (COVID-19) pandemic; the lockdowns resulted in significant loss of income of the caregivers.
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“We need to show up and hold our governments accountable in setting aside the adequate resources to ensure that all children, both girls and boys and those in vulnerable situations, can go back to school and complete their studies,” President Kenyatta said.
The President spoke Saturday at State House, Nairobi, at the start of the two-day virtual 34th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU whose theme is “Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want”.
The Kenyan Head of State expressed the need for African Governments to invest more aggressively in improving education access and quality, including the area of teaching and learning technologies, to bridge the education divide.
“Our children, are the future of this continent and we, as leaders, must guarantee a better tomorrow for them. We, as leaders today, must preserve and protect their wellbeing,” the President told the summit during which President Cyril Ramaphosa of South handed over the AU chairmanship to President Félix Tshisekedi of DRC.
President Kenyatta also emphasized the need to not slacken in the fight against malaria even as the continent tackles the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even as we continue the fight against COVID – 19, restore our economies and secure the future of our children through education, let us know that malaria remains amongst one of the greatest threats to the health of our children and all our citizens across the continent,” he said.
As Chair of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), President Kenyatta appreciated the unwavering commitment by AU member states towards elimination of malaria by 2030.
He noted that 19 African countries are implementing the flagship campaign of “Zero Malaria Starts with Me” and urged those who have not yet launched the campaign to do so.
The President also took the opportunity to thank President Ramaphosa, the outgoing AU Chairman, for steering the continental organization during the unprecedented period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You have ably shepherd our continent to respond to the pandemic in a timely and effective manner,” President Kenyatta commended his South African counterpart.
The Kenyan leader also congratulated President Tshisekedi for taking over the chairmanship of AU, assuring him of Kenya’s full support.
“My delegation expresses full confidence in your solid leadership and ability to take our Union to greater heights,” President Kenyatta assured the Congolese leader.
President Kenyatta also thanked AU member states for their support that enabled Kenya to secure the Non-Permanent Member position of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a two-year term from 2021 to 2022.
Speaking as he handed over the AU chairmanship, President Ramaphosa said he was glad that the continent’s response to COVID-19 has been driven, coordinated and capacitated by its own scientists and medical experts, domiciled within the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).
“In establishing this platform, we have given practical meaning to the mantra we often repeat, that we are committed to developing African solutions to African problems,” President Ramaphosa said.
On his part, President Tshisekedi assured of his commitment to working closely with all AU member states to achieve the objectives of the continental organization.