Kenya has been re-elected to the membership of the African Union Security Council in a move officials said would significantly boost the country\u2019s continental influence ahead of her bid for a non permanent seat in the UN Security Council in 2021.\r\nKenya\u2019s State House said in a statement the country's re-election is a continental vote of confidence in Kenya's competence and is expected to have positive bearing when elections to the continental body are held.\r\nKenya won against her northern neighbours Ethiopia and Sudan who staged a spirited campaign but lost after six rounds of voting at the ongoing 34th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council.\r\nThe session was held ahead of the 32nd AU Summit which President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to attend.\r\nForeign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Dr Monica Juma said Kenya\u2019s re-election to the AU Security Council was a demonstration of the goodwill and confidence Kenya enjoys among its African peers. \r\nKenya has held the seat since 2016, representing the East African region.\r\nDr. Juma said Kenya\u2019s retention of the position is a major boost to the country's momentum as it seeks to intensify its campaign for the global seat in coming months. \r\nFor the UNSC seat, Kenya is competing against Djibouti.\r\nKenya\u2019s performance during the first three years in the AUSC and President Kenyatta\u2019s good working relations with other AU member Heads of State and Governments were the biggest selling points for Kenya.\r\nDuring the elections, Nigeria retained its membership representing the West African region. Lesotho, Algeria and Burundi were elected to represent Southern, Northern and Central Africa respectively.\u00a0\r\nThe chairmanship of the 15-member AU Security Council rotates monthly. Kenya is scheduled assume leadership next month (March 2019).\r\nThe theme of this year\u2019s AU Heads of State and Governments Summit slated for February 10th to 11th\u00a0 is: \u201cThe year of refugees, returnees and Internally Displaced Persons\u201d.\r\nDr. Juma said the Summit will explore and fashion durable solutions to the challenge of forced displacement of populations in Africa.\r\nThe continent has several pockets of refugees including those residing in Kenya majorly from Somalia, those in Uganda\u00a0 and Ethiopia from South Sudan and those displaced from DRC Congo spread across the East African region.\r\nThe Foreign Affairs CS also spoke about the progress being made towards the full ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACfTA), saying 18 countries, among them Kenya, have so far appended their signatures to the pact. Some 21 countries are required to make the Agreement operational.\u00a0\r\n\u201cWe are hopeful that all African countries will ratify this important Agreement,\u201d said Dr Juma during a press interview in Addis Ababa.\r\nOther key issues to be discussed at the summit include governance, environmental conservation (especially the ban on plastics where Kenya and Rwanda are the continent's leading lights), infrastructure, science and technology.