Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visited students attending a mentorship programme at State House, Nairobi, where he fielded questions on leadership and his views being one of Africa’s youngest leaders.
The Ethiopian leader, who was on a State Visit to Kenya, and his host President Uhuru Kenyatta dropped in at the students’ residence without prior notice.
The President and the PM had finished a bilateral meeting and were expected to attend a luncheon hosted in honour of the Ethiopian leader and his delegation but instead, they headed to the building hosting the students undergoing the Pupils Reward Scheme (PURES) programme.
The two leaders fielded questions on leadership from the 54 students who are form ones from various national schools within the country.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister and President Kenyatta called on the youth to be patriotic and work hard to rise to leadership positions in future.
PM Abiy said he was impressed by President Kenyatta’s mentorship programme, saying it was a noble idea that deserved to be emulated by other African leaders.
“What my brother is doing here is amazing, by the way. I like this initiative. Nobody is doing it in Africa, you guys are lucky,” said the visiting Ethiopian leader.
Asked about challenges he is facing as one of the youngest leaders in Africa, the Ethiopian Prime Minister said, both the current and past leaders have to work together to achieve the desired development for their respective nations.
“To build a house, if someone builds a foundation, the next person must add another block so as to see the house finished. So in Africa, we have to connect both yesterday, today and tomorrow so as to realize this vision,” the Ethiopian PM told the youngsters.
He commended President Kenyatta for coming up with the PURES programme, saying it would go along way to develop leaders who would mature and continue with the good work of building a strong nation.
The PM observed that Africa has faced a myriad of challenges due to lack of mentoring leaders who would continue with the vision the founding fathers had.
“If existing leaders are giving help to the next generation, an emerging Africa will continue. The problem we have in Africa is all existing leaders do not appreciate those who are exiting, that means history, and they also don’t want to invest on emerging generation like you,” he said.
He said current leaders need to invest in mentorship programmes which would be used to raise competent leaders to carry on with the vision of integrating Africa.
“Our dear brother is doing an amazing job. He is investing in you. I hope we will have many leaders out of this group and through practising, learning about tomorrow and visioning about tomorrow’s generation. Also thinking about yesterday and what our fathers did through this process, Africa will realize the great vision through integration and grow like other continents,” said the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
Asked what else he would do apart from being the Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy said he would be a university lecturer where he would impart knowledge to the youth.
President Kenyatta challenged the student to work hard and achieve the best in whatever field they might be involved in, saying that is part of nation building.
“Whatever you do, do your best. Whatever you become, make the best out of it. Be it you want to become President, Prime Minister, engineer or teacher, just be the best,” said President Kenyatta.
The Pupils Reward Scheme (PURES), is a mentorship programme under the Presidency.
President Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched it in early 2015. Besides mentoring the students on the need for hard work and choosing their careers wisely, the programme cultivates leadership skills and gives them an opportunity to share experiences on national values such as integration and ethnic harmony in diversity.