Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has agreed to leave his role as the High Representative for Infrastructure in Africa.
In a letter to African Union dated February 23, 2023, Raila revealed that he had hinted to AU of the challenge he faced while discharging his duties in the role, due to the job's demanding nature.
"During our meeting on the sidelines of the 2nd Dakar African Infrastructure Financing Summit in Dakar, Senegal about three weeks ago, I indicated the challenges to my continued availability for the role of AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa. In that regard, I welcome your quick action that will free me to pursue other pressing and urgent matters," Raila said.
However, Raila indicated that the continent still faces pertinent challenges in infrastructural development, including inaction by the continent's leadership to embrace development.
Raila also says that vested interests outside the continent to keep Africa in its current state of underdevelopment have been a hindrance to development.
"Many challenges remain, including the inaction by the Continent's leadership and vested interests outside the Continent that are only too keen to keep Africa in its present condition. Hopefully, the continent will overcome these," Raila wrote.
In his statement, Raila left chances open for deployment on continental assignments, in case "circumstances change".
"I will be indicating when I might be available for deployment on continental assignment as circumstances change. Wishing you all the best in the difficult role. Please, accept the assurances of my highest consideration and personal esteem," he added.
In a statement dated February 19, 2023, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said the end of Raila's role came after the continental body completed the transformation of NEPAD Agency to the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.
"Your exceptional leadership and unique command of the issues concerned has been crucial to the leveraging of infrastructure as a key priority within the Continental agenda. The transformation of the NEPAD Agency to the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD has now been completed, with full mandate to implement the Continental agenda on infrastructure," Mahamat stated.
Raila has been serving in the role since October 20, 2018, when he was appointed during the reign of former President Uhuru Kenyatta. The appointment came six months after he ended his political enmity with President Kenyatta, who played a crucial role in influencing the appointment.
"It has been a great pleasure and honour serving our Continent and our people and addressing Infrastructure development, which we agree is the greatest contributor to our unending struggle to lift ourselves out of poverty and under-development. I am proud to have made a contribution to the transformation of the NEPAD Agency to African Union Development Agency-NEPAD, among other contributions during my tenure," Raila wrote.
In his role, Raila was tasked with the integration of the continent through infrastructure, to promote economic growth and sustainable development.