One of the most interesting and active delegations to the just concluded 14th session of UNCTAD in Nairobi was the one from Greece, led by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. Dimitris Mardas.
The minister had several meetings with the Kenyan authorities including ministries with the target to promote the increase of business activity between the two countries. While speaking in the General Debate about the issue of revising the UN Charter, Mr Mardas touched on the time-consuming bureaucratic overhaul that this decision would cause. In consideration of the 2030 Agenda, Mr Mardas said direct and practical solutions are needed to strengthen the linkage between the states of the North and the South, the efficiency of governments as well as international cooperation. In this sense, closer cooperation between UNCTAD and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in which similar themes are being discussed, may prove to be effective. The minister also examined the factors that facilitate and those that obstruct the commercial ties between North and South and presented possible solutions that could improve industrial cooperation between industrialized and developing states.
The Deputy Foreign Minister, responsible for international economic relations, led a delegation of 14 Greek companies to Kenya from July 17 to July 20, with the objective of fostering the commercial cooperation and business ties between the two countries. Among his many high level meetings, the highlight of Mr Mardas’ visit was his meeting with Dr Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary Foreign Affairs where he handed Dr Mohamed an invitation from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Mr Nikos Kotzias to visit Greece.
They spoke about the various ways to improve the bilateral relations between Greece and Kenya. Specifically, the benefits of cooperation in the blue economy of Kenya and energy as well as the possibility of a return visit of Kenya companies to Greece.
He also met with Ms Fatuma Hirsi Mohamed, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism they signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism between Greece and Kenya that is currently being drafted.
Mr Mardas also had a fruitful meeting with Mr Laban Onditi Rao, Vice Chairman of the National Chamber of Commerce and Ms Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Labor and Social Protection who had visited Greece in November of 2013 in order to participate in the Hellas Kenya Business Forum. Lastly, Mr. Mardas met with Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi, Cabinet Secretary of Land and Physical Planning.
The decision to visit Kenya was in recognition of the country’s potential for successful business ventures and market opportunities. The Greek companies delegation represented various industries including agriculture, tourism, refreshments, construction, publications, lifts, baked goods, some of which are already established in Kenya (Africa Plantation Capital , Els & Kels , Kleemann, LDK, Seagull, Anipsotiki) while others are keen to invest soon (Viochalko, Biofresh, Rogan). The three-day visit, which concluded July 20, marked the third business delegation of Greek companies to visit Kenya in the last three years.