No mention of Africa as G7 leaders start crucial talks

President Uhuru Kenyatta departs from JKIA for the G7 Summit in Italy on Friday. [PSCU]

Africa is struggling for recognition at the exclusive club of the world most powerful countries, the G7.

Even as the European Union pitched for the 43rd G7 Summit to focus on addressing global challenges of terrorism, fair trade, climate change, Brexit and migration, Africa appeared least of the members’ worries.

Addressing a joint press conference on the sidelines of the summit at Taormina City in Italy, the EU President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker ignored Africa, choosing instead to dwell on issues to do with Europe, Asia and North Korea.

They also called for extended sanctions on Russia, Ukraine, Iran and North Korea over chemical weapons and their foreign policy. “Counter-terrorism is a matter of global concern, just like is the case of climate change and migration. Though G7 has new leaders, their stability is important to enhance freedom, democracy, rule of law and human rights,” said Juncker.

Tusk said: “This meeting is unique because it has to address the pressing and most challenging global issues. The G7 must ensure there is international order and eliminate strategic threats.”

But even as the leaders spoke of various challenges facing countries in other continents, Africa was relegated to the periphery despite facing similar challenges.

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The Horn of Africa is dealing with extremist activities by the Al Shabaab in Somalia and a civil war in South Sudan, while West Africa has Boko Haram and Tunisia beset by serious migration challenges.

In turn, countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ethiopia and Nigeria are grappling with the refugees’ menace, which not only eats into the countries’ budget but also threaten their security and impact negatively on the environment.

Greatest challenges

President Uhuru Kenyatta is among the four African leaders invited to the summit to discuss challenges facing the region, quickly becoming the next economic frontier.

“The continent is often at the sharp end of the greatest challenges facing our planet, combating terrorism or bridging the gaping disparity in trade that perpetuates poverty, it’s high time a voice from Sub-Saharan Africa was given the platform,” argued President Kenyatta.

The President has pitched for Africa Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) which has Kenyan troops, to be transformed into a UN peace keeping mission after EU slashed funding by 20 per cent last year.

Africa has millions of refugees, with Kenya hosting about 600,000 at the Daadab camp, which the number has been reducing since the government commenced repatriations to Somalia last year.

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He continued: “I want to see Kenya take her rightful place on the world stage, feeding into the multinational trade mosaic that has always been part of our fabric.”

He stressed that Africa should be elevated to a status of equity with its international partners. President Kenyatta is scheduled to address the powerful group today morning.

The G7 leaders comprise US President Donald Trump, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President-elect Emmanuel Marcon, Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, United Kingdom (UK) Teresa May and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

The Summit will ventilate on foreign policy, global threats, economy and will review the economic coordination, based on the resolution of the G20 conference and come up with a declaration today.

“We must be united to ensure the situation does not get out of hand. We must remain alive to the fact that the 42nd Summit resolutions are fully implemented, and this includes not lifting sanctions on Russia and ensuring the Paris declaration on climate is adopted by all UN members,” said Tusk.

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