Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rebrand Kenya for Asian market, urges PM Odinga

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (centre) admires rebranded Kenyan Coffee at Limkokwing University of Innovative Technology in Malaysia. Photo/PMPS

Prime Minister Raila Odinga (centre) admires rebranded Kenyan Coffee at Limkokwing University of Innovative Technology in Malaysia. Photo/PMPS  PMPS


Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called on the Asian nations to help rebrand Kenya's image to attain international recognition.

PM Odinga noted that Asian nations had taken hard decisions to attain their development goals.

“The “Asian Miracle” compelled a fundamental change in the world economic order. A small club of industrialised nations can no longer dictate the future of global economy. It is the G-20, no longer the G-7 that is the most influential forum of global leaders,” he said.

He recalled that under Dr Mahathir Mohamed's leadership, Malaysia said no to the Washington Consensus during the Asian Financial Crisis and time has since proved that he acted in the best interest of the region and the country.

Mr Odinga called for collaboration in the area of information technology with particular focus on the development of the upcoming Konza technology and innovation city.

“We are keen on a collaboration that will accelerate the development of creative industries in Kenya. And we are looking for ties that will create and lift Kenyan entrepreneurs while building focus and confidence in our Vision 2030. Together we can rebrand and reinvent our two nations,” Mr Odinga said.

PM Odinga was addressing graduands at the Limkokwing University in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate of Leadership in Societal Development.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Odinga paid tribute to Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who is credited with the country’s economic take off and other leaders of the region whose efforts have transformed the global economy.

He said Kenya’s Vision 2030 borrows heavily from Malaysia’s Vision 2020. He expressed hope that in about a decade, Kenya will be where Malaysia is today and even catch up.

The University’s administration said it was honouring Mr Odinga for his “exemplary leadership,” as “one of Kenya’s most charismatic and inspiring leaders” and for a life dedicated to public service.”

He was described as “a known fighter, one of Africa’s most fearless sons, born into politics and destined to lead because of a relentless pursuit of his ideals.”

Saying he was “truly humbled” to be recognised along side such icons of transformational leadership as Nelson Mandela and Dr Mahathir Mohamed who have received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from the University, Mr Odinga said his share of hardship as a political dissident however do not put him in the same league as Nelson Mandela.

Mr Odinga regretted that despite very close ties between Malaysia and Kenya in the earlier decades of independence, those ties have weakened over time.

“I hardly see any tourists from Malaysia in Kenya. I do not see many students from Malaysia. Malaysian companies are not nearly as active in Africa as I wish them to be,” the PM Odinga said.

He called on the countries of ASEAN and its counterpart, East Africa Community (EAC) to convene a meeting of the Heads of State and Government, to establish a framework for an economic partnership.

The ASEAN-EAC Summit should also agree on a protocol for scientific, educational, and cultural exchanges, he said.

PM Odinga called for a rapid development of ties between Kenya and Malaysia initially focusing on investment and transfer of technology for industrialisation and capacity building among the youth.

He called for the establishment of a hub in Nairobi where researchers and scholars from the two countries will come together to exchange ideas and undertake joint research saying the Kenya National Science and Technology Council is ready to facilitate such an undertaking.

Mr Odinga recalled that way back in 1955, the first Afro-Asian Conference was held in Bandung, Indonesia where 29 mostly newly independent countries gathered and pledged to work together to oppose colonialism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism.

The Conference gave birth to Afro Asian Solidarity Movement, which mobilised support for independence movement in Africa and Asia.

It also laid the foundation for the Non-Aligned Movement during the polarised cold war era, PM Odinga said.

“The Bandung Declaration proclaimed the desire to promote the Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation. Let us revive the Bandung Spirit, and make the dream of our Founding Fathers come true,” he said.

The University announced that it would soon establish a campus in Nairobi, focusing on innovation.