After 5 years H.E. Mr. Frans Makken, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Kenya, Somalia and the Seychelles, will return to the Netherlands. The embassy thanks Ambassador Makken for his leadership and extraordinary service. They took the opportunity to ask the Ambassador a few last questions before his departure, and one of the questions asked was the following:
How would you characterize the bilateral relations between Kenya and the Netherlands?
Ambassador Frans Makken: Ever since its independence Kenya and the Netherlands have had very strong ties. During my tenure we entered a new phase in our bilateral relationship, as we went from an aid to a trade approach. This was highly appreciated by the Kenyan government, since it meant the start of a real partnership on an equal footing rather than the traditional donor-recipient relationship. This also allowed me to work much more closely with the Kenyan government, as we were dealing with such matters as improving the trade and investment climate by tackling institutional hurdles and helping Kenya to improve its doing-business ranking. There is a lot at stake: for the last five years in a row, the Netherlands has been ranked as the largest export market for Kenyan products in Europe, the main destination for Kenya’s cut flowers, vegetables and fruits. I am proud of the fact that despite COVID-19 we managed to get the cargo flights going again, even to the point of daily flights already a few weeks after the start of the pandemic. This strong relationship, but also the fact that so many summits take place in Kenya, brought many ministers to Kenya, which underscores the relevance of our work in Kenya.