President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged American businesses to ignore untruths about Africa and invest in the continent.
President Kenyatta said Africa is a place of diverse countries and peoples, with considerable opportunities for trade and investment.
The President made the remarks in a video address to the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles in California, the United States.
A team of Kenyan Government officials and private sector representatives are at the conference.
“I invite you to engage them, and see how we can work together. This conference is a superb opportunity to replace the older, darker view with a more accurate picture on Africa,” the President said.
The President said the country has made substantial investments in infrastructure – the Mombasa port is being expanded, a new standard-gauge railway running from Mombasa to Uganda is being built and a new port in Lamu is under construction.
“We are the gateway to Africa; its ninth-largest economy; and the heart of a community of 150 million people. We aim to make the most of these advantages,” President Kenyatta said.
He said Kenya is keen to form partnerships in ICT, agriculture, energy, financial services and manufacturing.
The President pointed out that though the country has the best Internet connectivity in Africa, more could be done from the experience of others.
“There is potential for partnerships in energy, especially because Kenya has perhaps half of Africa’s potential geothermal power,” President Kenyatta also said.
He described Africa as the second-fastest growing continent as demographics and technological shifts have clearly shown.
Saying young people and cities often drive innovation and growth, President Kenyatta disclosed that Africa will soon have about one billion young Africans of working age and over 100 cities of at least a million people each.
The President said Africa has adopted technology that has eased old challenges, adding: “There are as many as one and a half times as many mobile-phone users in Africa as in the US.”
With Africa’s economic management better and political and economic risk ratings in line with the BRICs,
President Kenyatta said the importance of economic and political stability cannot be under-rated.
President Kenyatta said reforms in various countries in the continent have revived African solidarity.
“We have renewed our conviction that if we stand together, we can solve our problems and earn the prosperity and freedom that we deserve,” he said.
The President, who has been at the forefront in regional integration, said the continent with support of friends and partners and has the second-best rate of return in the world.
The conference brings together distinguished leaders and entrepreneurs. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is among key speakers.