Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has been commended for his efforts in championing the gender equality agenda in Africa.
Speaking when she met with President Kenyatta on the sidelines of the ongoing Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the President and the Chief Executive Officer of the organization Katja Iversen said the Kenyan Head of State’s presence at the conference sends a clear message on the importance of women in development.
“Your commitment to gender equality is evidenced by your presence at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference. Thank you for coming here, your presence sends a message to the African continent on the need to embrace gender equality,” said Ms Iversen.
She also commended the President for the Nairobi call-to-action, an African gender road map that, among other resolutions, seeks to mobilise resources to support the various women and girls empowerment initiatives in conflict and post conflict regions of Africa.
Ms Iversen urged the President to keep up the good work in support of women and girls even as he pushes for the passage of the two-thirds gender law in Kenya.
President Kenyatta expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the global conference saying deliberations and recommendations from the meeting will be a game changer in the manner in which gender issues are addressed.
“Am glad that I attended this conference. It is a meeting with a difference. It is indeed a game changer,” the President said.
He pointed out that while there are many partners willing to be involved in the gender equality initiatives, both governments and non-governmental organizations need to come up with mechanisms that will ensure they pull in one direction and ensure that these institutions complement rather than compete with each other.
“A lot of resources are wasted out there because NGO’s and Governments run different programmes all concerned with one agenda,” said President Kenyatta.
“If these resources were put together then a lot will be achieved. What needs to be discussed is the role of data collected on gender equality and its value in achieving the desired goals,” he added.
On the two-thirds gender rule, President Kenyatta reiterated his commitment to achieving the goal saying he will do his best in rallying other leaders in the country to play their role in the passage of the law so as to fulfil the constitutional requirement.
“I will reach out to my fellow leaders because time has come for us to pull together to further this agenda,” said the President.
He expressed optimism that a lot will have been achieved on gender equality in Africa by the time the next Women Deliver Conference is held.
In a separate meeting, President Kenyatta held talks with Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The President thanked Mrs Gates for her foundation’s work in Kenya especially in healthcare provision and poverty alleviation.
The President briefed Mrs Gates on the lessons from the pilot phase of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme and expressed optimism of its success once it is rolled out to the rest of the country.
Later, President Kenyatta toured the famous Vancouver Aquarium, a marine science research centre used for rescuing and rehabilitation of marine animals.
The aquarium set up in 1956 is a project of Ocean Wise, a not-for-profit organization whose agenda is to promote sustainable use of ocean resources.
Ocean Wise is a global leader in sustainability and an authority on ocean plastic pollution. The organization has integrated earth friendly practices in its operations including discontinuing the use of single-use plastic water bottles on site.
Besides research, each year, the aquarium rescues, rehabilitates and releases more than 150 marine mammals to the ocean.
The Canadian government has committed to partner with Kenya in setting up a similar facility in the country as part of ongoing support for the emerging blue economy sector.
The President, who was taken on tour of the facility by its chief executive officer Lasse Gustavsson, expressed gratitude saying the preservation and protection of marine life is crucial to the future wellbeing of all people.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada John Lanyasunya accompanied the President.