On 17 September 2012, Ms. Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden´s Minister for International Development Cooperation, inaugurated the new Swedish Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. The new office is Sweden´s largest Embassy worldwide, which confirms the country´s strong partnership with Kenya and the region.
About 300 guests took part in the event, during which they could enjoy bitings with a taste of Sweden. Among the guests were several cabinet ministers, ambassadors, and partners from private sector and civil society.
Minister Carlsson met during her visit to Nairobi with Prime Minister Odinga as well as with Foreign Minister Ongeri and Finance Minister Githae. She was accompanied by Ms Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The Director General will also meet with other partners to discuss Sweden´s support to Kenya, Somalia and the region with the objective to improve the conditions of poor people.
At the new Embassy, Sweden and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, ICT and urban development.
We in Bearing welcome the cooperation. Having a strong interest in our practice in the development of East Africa in general and Kenya in particular, we believe a cooperation between the countries can be very beneficial. Sweden is considered to be one of the most advanced countries in terms of innovation worldwide. Sweden always ranks high in all international reports on Science and Technology indicators such as the ones regularly published by the OECD or Eurostat.
As many small countries, the Swedish economy has a strong international orientation and this is also reflected in the national innovation system. The Swedish government has chosen to focus strategic investments on three key areas: medicine and bioscience, technology, and sustainable environment.
Kenya is developing the country through Vision 2030, to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation with the aim to reach a high quality of life by 2030. In the vision, Konza Technology City is a flagship project in the economic pillar and innovation is a very important enabler. Other strong and important areas of development in Kenya are life sciences and environment.
We believe that Sweden can contribute to the development of the innovation system in Kenya and to Konza Technology City, with development of innovation systems, fostering entrepreneurship and sustainable development, where Sweden have leading competence in the world. Sweden and Kenya have had a long lasting cooperation on development and aid, which will be strengthened through this cooperation.
By developing the innovation system in Kenya, it will strengthen the Kenyan economy in the short run through labor intense economic activities, and in the longer run by empowering development of the knowledge economy.