President Kersti Kaljulaid on official visit to Kenya

Kersti Kaljulaid.
Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

President Kersti Kaljulaid is starting a state visit to Kenya on Thursday, which will be the last state visit of her term of office, which ends next month.

Business diplomacy and improving Estonian companies' interests in Africa, a theme which Kaljulaid has focused on a lot during her presidency, will be at the center of the visit

The visit is also the first official visit of an Estonian head of state to an African nation, the president's office says.

Kristel Engman, of the president's office foreign department, said: "[Kenyan capital] Nairobi is the heart of Africa's economic life, and several Estonian companies want to extend their reach there. Business diplomacy has been strongly in focus for five years. For our companies, it's a flying start, opening the doors, in some sense."

In addition, she said that Kenya is one of the main diplomatic centers of Africa - there are the headquarters of several international agencies.

"But the cooperation between the two countries and sharing our experience is also important. Kenya has been interested in our education, e-governance and digital experience," Engman continued.

In the region strategy of Africa confirmed for 2020-2030, it is said that Estonia is planning to open an embassy in Nairobi, but the Foreign Ministry had nothing to say about it more precisely.

The state visit lasts from this Thursday to Saturday, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets (Center) and the chairman of the Riigikogu's foreign committee Marko Mihkelson (Reform) are accompanying the president.

The business delegation program starts on Wednesday, and the delegation is led by the Economic Development Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Communication Sille Kraam. There will also be an Estonia-Kenya business forum taking place in Nairobi.

Kaljulaid has carried out six official state visits during her term of office: To Finland, Croatia, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Kuwait. Before Alar Karis is sworn in, Kaljulaid will also visit Sweden, Germany and Italy and participate in the General Assembly of the UN.

A state visit is the most formal form of bilateral relations. In a typical year the President of Estonia generally travels on one or two official state visits and hosts an equal number.

President Kaljulaid will return to Estonia on Sunday. She leaves office on October 11.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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