The President of the Republic of Italy Sergio Mattarella started his official visit to Kenya on the 14th of march, kicking off a three-day event full of institutional meetings and ceremonies. The President is accompanied by a delegation composed of his daughter and first lady of Italy Ms. Laura Mattarella and the Deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Edmondo Cirielli, among the others.
During the mission, Deputy Ministry Cirielli and Ministry of Treasury of Kenya Njuguna Ndung'u are expected to launch the "Kenya-Italy Sustainable Development Partnership" (Kisdp), a strategic document indicating the line of intervention of the Italian Cooperation with Kenya for the next five years, defining a medium-term indicative programmatic framework for the cooperation between the two countries.
During President Mattarella's mission, two additional agreements between Kenya and Italy are expected to be signed, marking the launch of as many cooperation initiatives: the first, "Professional and Scientific Training for the Development of Cultural Tourism", financed by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) and realized by the National Museums of Kenya in partnership with La Sapienza University of Rome, concerns the implementation of a three-year training program for young Kenyan students. The second initiative, "Kenya Informal Settlement Redevelopment Programme" (Kirsp), concerns an integrated urban development intervention to improve access to basic services in the informal settlements of Kajiado, Kilifi and Siaya counties.
President Mattarella and the delegation will visit some of the Italian Cooperation's leading projects in the country, such as the St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute financed by the Cooperation in 1994 and managed by AVSI, which trains 800 young Kenyans every year through courses in IT, mechanics, plumbing, carpentry, catering, secretary, electronics, hairdressing, and beauty care. The Cooperation has deeply invested in the growth of the Institute allowing for the construction of the building, the supply of equipment, the start-up and various stages of expansion, allowing the Institute to consolidate and to offer young disadvantaged people adequate training, which would otherwise be inaccessible in most cases. The mission includes a visit to the E4Impact Accelerator founded in 2018 in Nairobi thanks to Aics support and through the Sacro Cuore Catholic University of Milan, which has quickly become a point of reference in Kenya's entrepreneurial ecosystem: it is of a hub offering legal, financial, training and mentoring services to businesses and start-ups, contributing to their growth and creating new synergies with international markets and investors.
"It is a real honour to welcome and follow the visit of President Mattarella and the delegation", says Giovanni Grandi, Head of Aics regional office in Nairobi. "This is an enormous privilege and a key opportunity to boost the consolidated friendship between Italy and Kenya. The launch of the multi-year strategy represents a milestone for Italy's cooperation with one of its priority countries, and the visit to the initiatives through which the Agency invests in business creation, employment, and in training young people are the concrete example of a cooperation that creates partnerships between businesses, universities and institutions and which looks at young people as builders of development of an increasingly resilient Kenya".
"Medium and Small Enterprises are the beating heart of Kenya's economic development," explains Mario Brataj, Program Officer for Economic and Private Sector Development at Aics Nairobi. "They contribute to almost 80% of GDP and represent around 70% of total employment. The young and dynamic entrepreneurial tissue needs support to best express its potential: for this reason, support to employment creation and expansion of small businesses is one of the pillars of our action in the country. At the same time we invest in human capital through the strengthening of vocational training institutes. An example of this approach is the experience of St. Kizito, which was built and consolidated thanks to the support of the Italian Cooperation and today it acts as a bridge between young people and the job market. The Institute collaborates today with 70 companies, carries out school-work alternation and promotes internships. In collaboration with Avsi, Res4Africa and Enel Green Power, Aics is also promoting the installation of a micro-grid that will make the Institute an excellence for training activities on renewable energy in Kenya and East Africa".