Thursday, May 23, 2024
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Outgoing Dutch ambassador on difficulty of Kenyans finding jobs in the Netherlands



The Netherlands ambassador to Kenya, Maarten Brouwer, served his final day on Wednesday, however earlier than he bid farewell to the nation he has lived in for 4 years and to a continent he has lived in for 40 years, he sat with the Enterprise Every day to mirror on the highs and the lows of his tenure.

It’s been 4 years because you took up the submit. Wanting again at your tenure, what has been your expertise?

Properly, this has been a really constructive expertise, however I need to say, it was a little bit of a bizarre begin. I got here right here in September 2020. I’d have cherished to start out a month and even two months earlier, however the Covid state of affairs restricted my journey. The explanation I say it was a bizarre begin is that because of the Covid measures, I couldn’t get to satisfy many individuals and it was a bit lonely. The remainder of it has, nonetheless, been a really attention-grabbing time inside which we’ve entered into an excellent relationship as individuals of the 2 nations. I need to say we take a look at Kenya very a lot as a associate via which we get to understand how developments are occurring inside the area.

About two years in the past, the Kenya Funding Authority (KenInvest) signed an MoU with the Netherlands Enterprise Hub that aimed to advertise investments between the peoples of the 2 nations. What has been the yield of that to date?

The thought of the MoU was mooted as a result of we’re an enormous buying and selling associate and there are lots of Dutch firms right here, simply as many Kenyan firms are sharing very robust ties with the Netherlands.

So beforehand, we by no means had a sort of Dutch chamber of commerce right here, and so the businesses weren’t organised collectively. So what we did is that we stimulated Dutch firms to come back collectively, they usually arrange the enterprise hub. That implies that we now have a consultant physique with about 80 member firms.

Now, for that organisation to know higher and to tell their members higher, they signed an MoU with KenInvest to trade information and to know higher the amenities that the latter might provide, and likewise for the companies to utilize these amenities. Since then, we’ve labored with KenInvest to arrange a digital portal for Dutch firms to register, and this acts as one of many entry factors for them. This implies they’ll use the portal to entry all types of companies that they want in the event that they need to set up themselves right here.

One of many commodities that Kenya exports to the Netherlands on an enormous scale is flowers, and in reality, your nation is Kenya’s largest marketplace for this product. Would you be capable to quantify how the expansion proportion has been throughout your tenure?

I feel if we had been to make the comparability, I’d need to dig down. However once I got here, after all, it was throughout Covid and noticed there was a dip, which rebounded in a short time after the pandemic was trounced, and there was constant development since then. I don’t have the precise proportion in thoughts, however over the whole of 4 years, I’d guess it’s round 10 p.c.

Away from the commerce involving product exports and imports, Kenyan authorities have in current days popularised the thought of labour exports to deal with the prevailing unemployment. Do you assume there are jobs that the Netherlands might provide Kenyans?

In case you take a look at what is going on within the Netherlands, we’re on the point of getting a brand new authorities. I feel the celebration agreements to kind the brand new authorities are being sealed as we converse.

Within the ongoing debate, migration is a really big subject as a result of there are a lot of extra individuals from different nations coming in than we are able to present alternatives for. The Kenyan diaspora within the Netherlands is comparatively small however total, the employment potentialities are very gradual, and that’s simply the truth. I feel the openness for Kenyans to go to the Netherlands to hunt employment will probably be very restricted within the years to come back and I don’t assume that’s an avenue the place we’ll see lots of development.

There has additionally been discuss by the Kenyan authorities a few coverage to ban the importation of second-hand garments. I perceive that this is likely one of the merchandise that your nation brings in right here. If the ban had been to be effected, how would it not have an effect on the commerce stability between the 2 markets?

This is likely one of the issues that, on the one hand, we’re not happy with as a result of we don’t need to export our issues to Kenya, however alternatively, second-hand clothes is definitely a market from which lots of people earn cash.

Stopping the imports to Kenya, in my opinion, will have an effect on the native market in some methods, each positively and negatively, so what must occur is that we should search for methods via which we are able to organise this significantly better. I feel we have to transcend that as a result of we don’t need to create issues in Kenya, and on the similar time, we are able to’t downplay the financial worth that it has for each nations. So, it’s a subject that we have to deepen discussions on.

Any pending enterprise that your successor ought to prioritise?

Now that the European Union (EU) has signed the Financial Partnership Settlement, we’re trying into what extra is required to make optimum use of the pact when it comes to the import and export flows and as gateways, I feel we might each profit loads from the settlement.

After which we’ll come to points like double tax settlement, the funding safety settlement and such. So these are the problems which might be very a lot on the agenda however I’m sure there will probably be new areas to construct on.

If I feel a bit bit about Kenya within the subsequent 5 years to 10 years, I feel vitality digitalisation and meals safety within the nation are very, very massive points which might be of curiosity and that can additional cement the connection that we have already got.

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