HRH The Crown Princess' speech at Joint Business Forum
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Royal Highness,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am truly delighted by the opportunity to open this first-ever Joint Business Forum between Kenya, Norway and Sweden here in Nairobi. The impressive lineup of business leaders and government representatives from all three countries is testament to the vast potential for increased economic cooperation.
I am especially pleased to be here today together with Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. For a very long time, Norway and Sweden have been friends, neighbours – and sometimes competitors. Whether we’re cross-country skiing or cross-sector innovating: we make each other better!
Kenya and Sweden also have a history of cooperation and trade, a history that goes back almost a century. Over the years, our relations have broadened and become increasingly dynamic.
Today, our economic exchange encompasses the most advanced sectors of our economies, ranging from renewable energy and sustainable transports to cutting-edge digital solutions within ICT. Sectors that many of you represent here today.
Representing Sweden, I am proud and pleased that my country and its business community has taken on a leading role in the green transition.
Being a relatively small country far up north, Sweden had to open up to the world. The result was an openness for knowledge, to ideas and to people. A combination that has proved vital for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Whether our friends are next door, like Norway, or thousands of miles away, like Kenya, we like to team up, learn from each other and do things together.
Similarly, Kenya has become a global leader in addressing climate change and ensuring a green and just transition.
In 2016, Kenya became the first country on the African continent to enact a Climate Change Act. Over the past two decades, the Kenyan economy has undergone a true transformation. There is a booming ICT sector and a vibrant innovation ecosystem. It was a privilege to witness this first-hand during our meeting yesterday, where young Kenyan entrepreneurs showcased their work for improved waste management across Kenya. Clearly, we have a lot to learn from each other.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda is a high priority for both Sweden and Norway. For me personally, as an Advocate Emerita of the Sustainable Development Goals, there is not a moment to waste. And I know that this is a conviction that I share with Crown Prince Haakon, long-time goodwill ambassador of UNDP. The Kenyan government’s ambitious Vision 2030 is testament that accelerated SDG-implementation is a priority that our three countries share.
Ladies and gentlemen. In tackling the challenges that we all face, innovative solutions will be critical. Innovation and research are essential. Sweden is ready to team up to make it happen. Together.
With that, I would like to give the floor to my travel companion, friend and team mate, Crown Prince Haakon.