African Negotiators Must Be Serious

Published on 29th August 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta raised the Kenyan flag high when he and US President Donald Trump led their respective delegations in bilateral talks during the Uhuru’s official visit in the US. Uhuru was clear that Africa needs trade partnerships as opposed to aid. His delegation however let him down for not carrying notebooks to record important issues if some of the pictures taken are anything to go by.

This is reminiscent of The Somali Partnership Forum, held in Brussels, Belgium, on July 16 and 17, 2018, attended by representatives of fifty-eight countries and 6 international organizations to discuss humanitarian issues, economic recovery, and review the progress that has been reported since the 2017 London Conference on Somalia. None of the regional leaders had anything to take notes with, whereas the EU representatives all came prepared with notebooks ready to listen and document what was discussed. The Somali leaders were disengaged, acting more like observers than actual participants at a meeting in which the future of their country was being discussed. Some Somali leaders used their cell phones in the meeting, in utter violation of protocol.

African leaders must do their homework before such meetings and bring with them an agenda based on their strategic developmental plans but not behave like observers in meetings that will chart the future of their countries.


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