KENYA: Obama Roots for Economic Growth, Opportunities Inclusive of Youth


Barack Obama greets children while touring the newly launched Sauti Kuu centre in Kenya (Photo by Thomas Mukoya/Reuters)
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Barack Obama, the former U.S. President has called for economic growth and opportunities that are inclusive of all Kenyans regardless of their age, social status, gender or ethnicity.

Obama said this is the only way that young people in Kenya will not make the same mistake as his late father did – leaving the country to seek opportunities in other countries.

The former U.S President who arrived in Kenya on Sunday was speaking Monday in Kogelo, Siaya county, his ancestral home as he officially launched Sauti Kuu, a training and resource centre for young people.

The centre, an initiative by Obama’s half sister, Dr Auma Obama has training facilities for sports and other recreational activities.

“There’s been real progress in this great country called Kenya and it should inspire the younger generation to demand even more progress,” Obama said on Monday.

He was accompanied by Dr Auma, his grand mother, Mama Sarah Obama foreign dignitaries and government officials.

As much as Obama said that Kenya’s new constitution was good news and that there is a new spirit of investment and entreprenuership, he added that “we know that real progress depends on addressing the challenges that remain”.

“It means rooting out the corruption, it means no longer seeing different ethnicities as enemies and rivals rather as allies and seeing diversity of tribes not as a weakness but as a strength,” Obama noted.

He called for economic growth that reaches everyone not only only a few at the top and that it should be broadly shared across regions.

Obama further rooted for guaranteeing of education to everybody including girls who are often sidenined.

“A nation that gives the same opportunities to our daughters as our sons is more likely to succeed,” Obama said.

Commenting on the impact of Sauti Kuu, Obama said that the centre would leverage the potential among young Kenyans to enable them influence progress in their country and improve their livelihood.

“This is why I am here today to launch Sauti Kuu Foundation, which is a centre seeking to build the youth from early stages of life and use local resources in building themselves and a better society,” he said.

“The centre enables youth to focus on leadership, team work and empathy,” he noted.

On her part, Dr Auma Obama said that the programs to be implemented in Siaya county are likely to be spread further acroos different parts of Kenya.

“This is a pilot and could be rolled out in other parts of the country, it will release the youth from begging culture,” Dr Auma said

On Sunday, upon arrival in Kenya, Obama paid a courtesy visit to President Uhuru Kenyatta and later held a separate meeting with opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

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