Kenya – Finnish Re­la­tions Grow Stronger and Bet­ter

Fin­land’s devel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion with Kenya is aimed at pro­mot­ing a demo­cratic and accountable so­ci­ety, erad­i­cat­ing poverty through a green econ­omy in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor and the im­proved man­age­ment and use of wa­ter re­sources. BRIAN MURE­I­THI re­ports

Diplomat East Africa - - Table of Contents -

Fin­land is com­mit­ted to sup­port Kenya fully im­ple­ment its Con­sti­tu­tion and the flag­ship projects en­vi­sioned in the Vi­sion 2030 frame­work. This was the mes­sage of the Finnish am­bas­sador to Kenya, H.E Sofie From-Emmes­berger dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions to mark the coun­try’s 97th In­de­pen­dence Day an­niver­sary in Nairobi. She said her coun­try was keen to strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with Kenya.

“We have con­tin­ued to work with Kenya as one of the coun­tries of our man­date in the East African re­gion to foster devel­op­ment in, among other fields, forestry, ru­ral devel­op­ment, wa­ter, gen­der and good gov­er­nance. Through our pro­grammes, we sup­port Kenya’s work in im­ple­ment­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion and Vi­sion 2030,” said Ms From-Emmes­berger.

Through Finpro and the Finnish Ex­port Coun­cil, the em­bassy has sought to cre­ate aware­ness about Kenya’s po­ten­tial as a des­ti­na­tion of choice for in­vest­ment and tourism. Finpro is a Finnish agency that helps SMEs go in­ter­na­tional, en­cour­ages for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in Fin­land and pro­motes tourism.

Last year, the em­bassy or­gan­ised a seven- city road-show in Fin­land to pro­mote busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in Kenya. The main fo­cus was on tech­nol­ogy. “In­forma- tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy (ICT) is some­thing that not only con­nects peo­ple, but also coun­tries. It was great, to see Kenya in­crease its co­op­er­a­tion with Finnish busi­ness lead­ers and men­tors in a work­shop that we held in May last year in Helsinki. Busi­ness and the ICT field will con­tinue to be the fo­cus of the Em­bassy and Finpro,” said From-Emmes­berger.

Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals (MDGs) and the pil­lars of Vi­sion 2030 are key for Kenya’s eco­nomic growth. “Mil­len­nium Devel­op­ment Goals are in our minds. The tar­gets set 15 years ago have to be reached,” he said.

Though much progress has been made, there is still a lot of work re­main­ing if Kenya is to achieve the MDGs tar­gets in child and ma­ter­nal health. Child mor­tal­ity is one of the ma­jor con­cerns of the devel­op­ment goals. The fo­cus is, how­ever, shift­ing to the ques­tion of the new MDGs to be agreed upon. Kenya and Ire­land have been tasked with pre­par­ing of the post-2015 mil­len­nium goals agenda.

Ac­cord­ing to the Finnish en­voy, the post-MDG prepa­ra­tions will fur­ther deepen dia­logue and co­op­er­a­tion on is­sues such as the em­pow­er­ment of women and peace and se­cu­rity and to in­te­grate th­ese firmly into the new devel­op­ment agenda.

“It is within the mul­ti­lat­eral frame­work of the first UN En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sem­bly meet­ing held in Nairobi last year. Re­sults from the meet­ing will also feed into the post-MDG dis­cus­sions,” said From-Emmes­berger.

The two coun­tries have en­joyed strong bi­lat­eral ties for over 30 years and Kenya is Fin­land’s only long term part­ner- coun­try in Africa that is not least de­vel­oped. Finnish in­ter­na­tional co-op­er­a­tion is un­der­pinned by the Finnish Devel­op­ment Pol­icy Pro­gramme of 2012, which lays spe­cial em­pha­sis on hu­man rights through tar­get in­ter­ven­tions to im­prove ac­cess to jus­tice, gen­der equal­ity, so­cial and eco­nomic rights. It also sup­ports democ­racy and ac­count­abil­ity as well as re­sult- based gov­er­nance.

Fin­land’s devel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion with Kenya seeks to pro­mote a demo­cratic and accountable so­ci­ety, poverty erad­i­ca­tion through green eco­nomic growth in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, the im­proved man­age­ment and use of for­est wa­ter re­sources.

Although there are no di­rect flights be­tween the two coun­tries, the bal­ance trade vol­ume is al­most at par. In 2013, trade was es­ti­mated at Ksh3.75 bil­lion with Kenyan im­ports amount­ing to Ksh1.82 bil­lion while Fin­land ex­ports to Kenya were es­ti­mated at 1.93 bil­lion. Kenya’s im­ports are mainly hor­ti­cul­ture, cof­fee and tea while Fin­land ex­ports in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy and power plants equip­ment. In the same year, more than 2000 Finnish na­tion­als vis­ited Kenya while it is es­ti­mated that over 700 Kenyans re­side in Fin­land

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