Raila in U.S., says African leaders must get rid of corruption


AU envoy Raila Odinga at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. Photo/...
AU envoy Raila Odinga at the Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, U.S. Photo/COURTESY

Raila Odinga, the new African Union envoy for Infrastructure Development, has challenged leaders to viciously fight corruption.

Speaking at the Duke University in the U.S., Odinga described the vice as “one of the biggest threats” to the prosperity of African nations.

“I accept that it has been difficult to fight corruption on the continent. I admit that even in Kenya, where I have joined President Kenyatta in waging a campaign against corruption, many remain skeptical, ” he said.

He said despite such challenges, there is hope as democracy has started to take root in most countries.

The NASA leader vowed to continue to spearhead the fight against corruption.

“I see a turning point. Now, in most African countries, people’s voice can no longer be ignored,” he said.

Odinga also challenged African leaders to prioritise world class infrastructure.

According to him, an efficient road and railway system has power to transform the continent from poverty.

Odinga revealed that this is the reason he accepted his recent appointment to the A.U. to push for more leaders to include it in their agenda.

“I strongly believe that the existence of a reliable infrastructure of roads and railways, running North to South, East to West of Africa, is critical to opening up the continent and making it the gateway to the 21st century,” Odinga said at Duke University on Tuesday evening.

He however, noted that Africa will not grow by duplication like Asia did in the 1980s but through strong intra-continental trade, which will not happen without proper infrastructure.

Odinga further pledged to work closely with the continent’s political leadership to garner support for huge infrastructure projects some of which have been in the pipeline for close to a century.

Through support from African leaders, Odinga said the grand Trans-African Highway needs to be realised fully.

He cited the network of nine highways covering a combined total of 60,000 kilometers across the continent, connecting Cairo, Dakar, Cape Town, Lagos and Mombasa.

Odinga acknowledged efforts by individual countries that have seen partial completion of other sections of the road and appealed for the renewal of the vision to see its goals are achieved.

 

“Only one of nine highways has been completed so far. That is the Trans-Sahelian Highway, which runs 4,500 kilometers between Dakar in Senegal and N’Djamena in Chad. It is just one example of what we plan to complete,”  Odinga said.

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