03-06-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
A necessarily virtual Republic Day this year from Nairobi.
For the second year in a row, 2 June could not be staged as a splendid day of aggregation and meeting that our Embassy had accustomed us to in previous years, with food and wine parades, music and cooperation with the presence of many Kenyans who interact at various levels with our country, as well as many compatriot residents who come from every corner of the country.
However, the Italian Ambassador Alberto Pieri organised a very welcome multi-voice greeting with participation on social media through the institutional pages and our 'Italians in Kenya' group.
During the traditional speech, Pieri recalled how the relationship between the two countries has strengthened in recent years.
The spirit of cooperation between the Italian and Kenyan states was strengthened after the meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Mattarella in Rome," Pieri said. "The pandemic has not stopped this partnership, which has many common points to address. One is certainly climate change. Italy is chairing the G20 this year, leading a process of sustainable development and energy transformation".
Pieri also wanted to dwell on the bilateral initiatives that have already been undertaken and that will continue in agreement between Rome and Nairobi.
With Kenya in this context we are promoting Blue Economy initiatives and now we will implement an important programme on community protection," he said, "to promote start-ups for young people in the private sector, prevent violence against women, for irrigation projects and in the agriculture and renewable energy sectors. In addition to the initiatives of our Government in collaboration with the Kenyan Government, there are also those of the many NGOs working in the area and with the Counties.
Pieri also mentioned the Luigi Broglio Space Centre in Ngomeni, a flagship of space technology not only in Kenya but in the whole of East Africa, which is increasingly seeing collaboration between the two countries at university and research centre level.
"The Luigi Broglio Space Centre near Malindi, the only centre of its kind in Africa, is a powerful tool for collaboration between Italy and Kenya, with enormous potential," said the Ambassador.
Pieri recalled how this year, thanks to the collaboration between the two space agencies and their respective universities, the Wild Track Cube "SIMBA" satellite was launched in Russia, a project to monitor wild animals, study their behaviour and ensure their safety, created by students from the University of Nairobi and the University of Machakos with the supervision of Italian researchers from Rome's Sapienza University.
In conclusion, Pieri addressed all compatriots living in Kenya and the Seychelles.
"It has been a difficult year," he pointed out, "I am thinking first and foremost of those working in the tourism sector who have suffered a great deal due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. But my thoughts also go out to the missionaries, cooperators and entrepreneurs who continue to do so much to revive relations of cooperation between two nations and two peoples, and our daily efforts are directed at them. We have always been close to our compatriots and have never suspended our consular activities. After all, this is our mission and we are convinced that the situation will improve from here on out".
Ambassador Pieri's speech and the greetings of the Government's Chief Administrative Secretary, Ababu Namwamba, were followed by testimonies from entrepreneur Louise Gatecha, who opened her glass recycling business thanks to a business accelerator from the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development, scholarship holder Jummy Awuori, Combonian missionary Father Maurizio Binaghi, who works in the slums of Nairobi, and marathon runners Amos Kipruto, a Kenyan trained by an Italian coach, and Eyob Faniel, an Italian from Africa (born in Eritrea) who is nostalgic for Kenya. Both, as friends and rivals, will take part in the Tokyo Olympics.
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