President William Ruto on Monday, May 29, implored on visiting Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov to support the African push for an overhaul of the United Nations Security Council.
Ruto was banking on a deep relationship between Russia and Africa to push for amendments to the United Nations Security Council to which Africa lacks a Permanent Representative.
President Ruto noted Africa should be represented at the Security Council, the UN’s top decision-making organ, just like other major powers and continents.
“The continent can bring to the table rich ideas, suggestions, and experiences that would serve the globe well,” he explained.
Speaking at State House, Nairobi, Lavrov acknowledged Africa's contribution to peace and security and stated that it was high time Africa was accorded the respect it deserved.
In agreement with President William Ruto's proposal for Africa's representation at the UN Security Council, Lavrov underscored the need to reform the United Nations Security Council to make it more representative and more responsive to the needs of the 21st Century.
The Head of State also noted that Kenya and Africa were counting on friends like Russia in the creation of a new architecture at the Council.
Russia which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, alongside five other nations, praised Kenya for stepping up to ensure that peace was achieved in the world.
The United Nations Security Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, charged with maintaining international peace and security.
It has 15 members: five permanent members (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 non-permanent members elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms.
It has the power to authorise the use of force, to establish peacekeeping operations, and to impose sanctions. The Council's decisions are binding on all member states.
The Security Council is often criticised for being ineffective and for being dominated by the five permanent members. However, it has also played a significant role in preventing and resolving conflicts, including the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Gulf War.
On the raging Russia-Ukraine War, President Ruto noted that Kenya was fully behind the United Nations Charter which defined the territorial integrity of member states.
“Kenya calls for a resolution of the conflict in a manner respectful to the two parties,” he noted.
From Nairobi, Lavrov visited BRICs Ministers of Foreign and International Relations in Cape Town, South Africa.
Kenya-Russia Trade Relations
The two leaders equally observed that the trade relations between Kenya and Russia had been growing, and that, a new trade was in the offing to boost exports from both countries.
Ruto revealed that Nairobi and Moscow were working on a free trade deal that will open new opportunities and grow trade to higher heights.
Lavrov honoured and acknowledged the 60 years of friendship between his country and Kenya, noting that Russia’s relationship with the continent has new momentum after the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit.
Trade between the two countries had been growing in recent years, with Kenya exporting agricultural products such as tea, coffee, and flowers to Russia, and Russia exporting machinery, fertilizers, and weapons to Kenya.
In 2022, bilateral trade between Kenya and Russia reached Ksh48 billion ($350 million). Kenya exported Ksh18 billion ($125 million) worth of goods to Russia, and Russia exported Ksh31 billion ($225 million) worth of goods to Kenya.
There are a number of opportunities for further trade and investment between Kenya and Russia. Kenya is a growing economy with a young population, and Russia has a strong manufacturing sector. There are also a number of joint ventures between Kenyan and Russian companies.
In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta visited Russia and attended the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi. The two countries agreed to form a business council that would oversee joint trade and investment programmes.
There are a number of challenges to further trade and investment between Kenya and Russia. One challenge is the distance between the two countries. Another challenge is the lack of direct flights between Kenya and Russia.
Despite the challenges, there is a lot of potential for further trade and investment between Kenya and Russia. The two countries have complementary economies, and there is a strong political will to cooperate.
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