|Mindspeak in Session. Picture Courtesy of Belgium Embassy in Nairobi|
Therefore, a visit by Didier Reynders an old hand in the EU seems to be a game changer in the dynamics of Africa Geopolitics. Didier was on a visit to Africa which saw him visit DR Congo before he came to Kenya. His visit to the DR Congo was the first significant visit by a high ranking Belgium government official. Also his visit was preceded by the abdication of the King to the throne in favor of his eldest son. Hence one could say a new beginning was emerging in Belgium and hopefully the rest of the EU countries will follow suit.
The Deputy Prime Minister talked about the following key topics in his two one hour presentation and later question and answer session;
Peace and Stability in the Regional
He did mention his trip to DR Congo and talked in length about his impression of Katanga and the significant role Kenya plays in the great lakes region. Also, on this issue he talked about Somalia and the enormous opportunities that exists there now that the country was experiencing stability after a long conflict. He talked of the input of the EU in bringing about and safeguarding the peace in Somalia.
The EU Market the EPA with EAC
In a response to a question from the audience he tried his hand in answering a question on the long negation between European Union and East African Community in sealing an Economic Partnership Agreement. He was aware that the head of negotiation from EU has been coming to the region and that could be a sign that the negotiations are in their penultimate stages.
China in the Region
The Deputy Premier told us his firsthand accounts of observing one of the biggest mosques in North Africa being constructed by the Chinese. However he pointed out the new emerging trend where European and Chinese are merging and doing business in Africa.
European Union and the reason why Africa ought to Integrate
Didier Reynders having participated in the formation of the Euro in the EU in the late 90’s observed that regional integration was the way to go for Africa if it seeks to be a significant player in the 21st Century.
The Belgian DP and foreign Minister showed his intent of diversifying and engaging Africa. It is up to our government to do its homework and seek meaningful engagement with Belgians which could be an opening gambit to the European Market.
Follow Up On the Deputy Prime Minister Charm Offensive in KenyaImmediately after Mindspeak the Belgium Ambassador to Kenya hosted a lunched at his residence and invited members of the business community who we’re addressed by the DPM.
Thereafter, the DPM enjoyed a Safari in our National Park and the proceeding week signed a 27 million Euros agreement with the Finance cabinet Secretary and later met our deputy president William Ruto