President Kenyatta has a word with AU Special Envoy for Infrastructure Development Raila Odinga during the 32nd AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [File, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to travel to Addis Ababa Ethiopia on Saturday for the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.

The head of State will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo, her Treasury counterpart Ukur Yatani and Jean Kamau, Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) among others for the two-day Summit between Feb 5 and 6.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to throw his support behind the full operationalization of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

Among other key areas of focus will be the African candidates and candidatures to the international system, the inclusion of Kiswahili as one of the working languages of the African Union among others.

Ambassador Omamo said operationalization of Africa CDC is very critical especially at this time the world is battling the Covid-19 pandemic and thus it is critical to make it fit for purpose to not only be able to respond efficiently, effectively and on a timely manner to the prevailing pandemic but also any other disease outbreaks that may strike in the future.

She said as a result, Kenya supports this noble initiate.

“While we may not wish to experience another pandemic like Covid-19, it will be very unrealistic of us to rule out an outbreak of other pandemic either regionally or globally. In order to be fully prepared to respond, we must ensure that Africa CDC is properly engineered to live up to its task and fit for purpose” said Omamo.

Africa CDC was launched on January 31, 2017, as a specialized Technical Institution of the Africa Union charged with the responsibility to promote the prevention and control of diseases in Africa Union Member states.

The ability to fully deliver on its mandate has been challenged by inadequate operational support and lack of appropriate authority to execute its functions in a timely and efficient manner. 

So far, at least 25 African Heads of State and Government are expected to attend the summit which will consider and adopt key reports, key among them Progress Report on the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) which will be presented by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his capacity as the Champion of ALMA.

Uhuru will also present the African Union Peace and Security Council Agenda for the Month of February 2022 in which Kenya is the Chair of the Month.

The ALMA report provides an update on the status of Malaria on the African Continent, progress towards the targets set in the Catalytic Framework to end AIDS, TB and eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030.

The Report will also include activities taken to mitigate the adverse impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on malaria services.

This is the first physical Summit to be held since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic in 2020.

The Summit is under the theme of ‘Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: ‘Strengthen Agriculture, Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development’.