Ranking Think Tanks

By Barend ter Haar, Clingendael Institute of International Relations. Rankings are at least as old as the Olympic Games, but nowadays rankings are not limited to sports, but encompass almost everything, from the best airport to the best restaurant and the best university. Since 2008 the University of Pennsylvania publishes an annual ranking of think tanks: the Global Go-To Think Tanks Report.  This year almost 2000 experts from 120 countries were involved in the process of nominating and ranking 6,826 think tanks from 182 countries in 47 categories. As Clingendael is ranked in seven of these categories and is placed on the 31st position of the overall ranking of all think tanks, we have little reason to complain, but it cannot be denied that these rankings can be questioned in many respects (as is the case with most rankings). It is, for example, strange to find the Wiardi Beckman Foundation on the list of the Best For Profit Think Tanks. Keeping that in mind, the Global Go-To Think Tanks Report provides a lot of food for thought. It is, for example, interesting to note that of the twenty think tanks that are considered to have the largest impact on public policy eight are based in Washington, five in London and four in Brussels. Whereas influential universities can afford a location at some distance from the centers of power (e.g. in Cambridge (US and UK), in Stanford and Oxford), think tanks clearly cannot. I doubt whether anybody would be able to guess which Dutch think tanks, apart from Clingendael, have made it into one or more of the lists of top think tanks. They are the following: –         Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB)  (42 on the list of Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks) –         Socires (36 on the list of Education Policy Think Tanks) –         Stichting Natuur en Milieu (60 of Environment Think Tanks) –         Transnational Institute (69 on the same list) –         Philips Center for Health and Well-Being (19 of Health Policy Think Tanks) –         Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (73 of the International Development Think Tanks) –         European Center for Development Policy Management (mentioned twice: 75 on International Development and no 46 of the Top Think Tanks in Western Europe) –         Wiardi Beckman Foundation (mentioned twice: 26 of the Best For Profit Think Tanks and 22 of the best Think Tanks with Political Party Affiliation) –         Evert Vermeer Foundation (no 17 of the Think Tanks with Political Party Affiliation) –         European Research Center on Migration and Ethnic Relations, Utrecht University (34 of the Best University Affiliated Think Tanks) A clear difference between The Brookings Institute, that remains the best think tank in the world, and the eleven Dutch think tanks mentioned in the listings, is that Brookings covers the subjects of each of them, whereas the eleven Dutch think tanks seem sometimes to be barely conscious of each other’s existence. Could it be that Brookings owes its high ranking to the synergy between different programs? Shouldn’t that give us pause to think?

Interview with Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen

By Bonnie Klap, Editor in Chief It is no mean feat to capture the multi-faceted career of Reinildis van Ditzhuyzen in a few sentences. Apart from being a well-known personality  on Dutch, German and French television, she is a historian, journalist and author of close to two dozen books on topics varying from history and culture, to etiquette and Royalty. It is because of her vast expertise on the latter, that I sit down with her this month, as on April 26th  The Netherlands will celebrate its first Kings Day with a new King. Q: Obviously it is a big moment when somebody gets to meet the King. What is the correct etiquette? A: “First of all: You can never introduce your self. If the King happens to be present at some event  or reception, you can not just walk up to him and say ‘hello.’ The King must always take the initiative. People are usually introduced to the King through courtiers.  Generally speaking the rule is: never go to a higher ranking person. When meeting the King there is no need to bow. Queen Juliana, King Willem-Alexander’s Grandmother, abolished this rule, but for instance when meeting the Queen of Britain, Spain or Denmark, people should bow.” Q: The Dutch Monarchy has the reputation of being a rather laid-back and relaxed Monarchy, as opposed to for instance the British Monarchy. Is this true? A: “Yes, it is true. I have been travelling with the former Queen Beatrix and last June I also went to Germany with the new King. He is more relaxed than his Mother, but of course it is necessary to keep that distance, that dignity.” Q: Why did you accompany  HM the King to Germany last June? A: “ Well, I write books about the House of Orange and also about etiquette. For me these trips are very important as I see up close how the Monarchy functions.  I don’t go along on all State visits, but the trips are very interesting, also regarding how the Protocol works. I will give an example: The rule is, that there may never be an empty seat next to the King, so  when the King attends a lecture and the person sitting next to him gets up to deliver a speech, then immediately somebody will move next to the King. This is all arranged beforehand of course. Queen Juliana detested Protocol. For instance, if she would visit  a theatre, she would say: ‘Just pretend I’m not here.’ Consequently all the people would  get confused and had to improvise. Should they help her into her coat, or not, that kind of thing. Protocol is useful and helps everything  to run smoothly. Queen Beatrix understood this and when she succeeded her Mother, Queen Juliana, she changed it, as she knew: Protocol ensures an orderly organization.” Q: I understand discretion is of the utmost importance in your position. Still, is there perhaps an anecdote, some small tidbit about HM the King, that you can share with the readers? A:  “During the trip to Germany the King also visited the Opel-factory. There was a  hall filled with Opel-employees and the King was seated on a separate stage together with a number of people, who were selected beforehand. After a while the King turned around to the group of people, who were not on the stage and started talking to one of them. You could clearly see how delighted that person was. In this instance the King broke the protocol, but in a very nice way. Everybody was very excited. I would also like to mention the advantage of Monarchy. Monarchy brings stability and continuity, because a King or Queen will be there for 20 or 30 years, whereas Prime-Ministers come and go. We have had the House of Orange for centuries and they also mean identity. We are a small country and the Royalty gives us that extra myth, tradition and the  fairytale-aspect. People need the fairytale-aspect.”

Cyprus Commandaria: The wine of kings

Cyprus is considered the island where Aphrodite was supposedly born, risen up from the foam (aphro in Greek) produced by the sea waves hitting on rocky coasts. This island which was chosen to give birth to the Greco-roman mythological goddess of love, beauty and pleasure, is also known for the production of the oldest wine in the world, commandaria: The wine of kings and the king of wines, as King Richard the Lionheart said during his wedding in Cyprus, at the 12th century. Commandaria Commandaria, the amber-coloured sweet dessert wine made from sun-dried grapes of the varieties Xynisteri and Mavro, in the Commandaria region of Cyprus on the foothills of Troodos Mountains has a rich history. It represents an ancient wine style documented in Cyprus back to 800 BC (Greek poet Hesiod named commandaria as the Cypriot Manna, food from haven) and has the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production, with the name Commandaria dating back to the crusades in the 12th century. During the Crusades, Commandaria was served at the 12th century wedding of King Richard the Lion-heart to Berengaria of Navarre, in the southern coastal town of Limassol; it was during the wedding that King Richard pronounced Commandaria “the wine of kings and the king of wines”. Near the end of the century the Lion-heart sold the island to the Knights Templar who then sold it to Frankish nobleman Guy de Lusignan, but kept a large feudal estate at Kolossi, close to Limassol, to themselves. This Kolossi estate was referred to as “La Grande Commanderie”. The word Commanderie referred to the military headquarters whilst Grande helped distinguish it from two smaller such command posts on the island, one close to Paphos and another near Kyrenia. This area under the control of the Knights Templar (and subsequently the Knights Hospitaller) became known as Commandaria. When the Knights Templar began producing large quantities of the wine for export to European royal courts and for supplying pilgrims en route to the holy lands, the wine assumed the name of the region. Thus it has the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production. Legend has it that in the 13th century Philip Augustus of France held the first ever wine tasting competition. The event, branded The Battle of the Wines (fr. La Bataille des Vins), was recorded in a notable French poem written by Henry d’Andeli in 1224. The competition which included wines from all over Europe and France was won by a sweet wine from Cyprus widely believed to be Commandaria. The Commandery region itself fell into the control of his descendant Philip IV in 1307, after the suppression of the Knights Templar. Another legend has it that the Ottoman sultan Selim II invaded the island just to acquire Commandaria; also that the grapes used to make this wine were the same grapes exported to Portugal that eventually became famous as the source of port wine. Commandaria 2 ZIVANIA: the heavier alcoholic spirit of Cyprus Cyprus has another legendary alcohol beverage the zivania, its colorless and alcoholic with a light aroma of raisins. Its alcohol content varies, with 45% by volume being the typical value. Zivania contains no sugar and has no acidity. In order to produce Zivania of the highest grade, mature healthy grapes of the best quality are used. Zivania has been produced in Cyprus since the time the Republic of Venice ruled the island, around the end of the 15th century. Evidence of its continued production during Ottoman and British rule of the island comes from writers such as the British writer Samuel Baker who in 1879 reported that “…the refuse of skins and stalks is laid upon one side to ferment for the manufacture of raki, or spirit, by distillation…” Since 1989, Zivania’s name has been protected under EU regulations. In old times, the main alcoholic drinks Cypriots consumed were wine and zivania. In some villages of Cyprus, cinnamon was added to zivania giving it a nice red color and a fine aroma and flavor. As zivania ages it gains a stronger flavor and aroma. Aged zivania has been valued very highly and is kept for consumption during special occasions or as a welcoming treat for visitors. Even nowadays at some villages in Cyprus, locals welcome visitors with zivania served together with dried nuts, Turkish delight, or small appetizers like cheeses and sausages. Other than enjoying zivania as an alcoholic drink, Cypriots is using it for several other purposes. Zivania is used to treat wounds, for massaging sore body parts, as a remedy for colds and toothaches or as a warming-up drink during the cold months of winter, especially in the villages of the Troodos mountains. After they are harvested,the grapes are set in the sun for a week to ten days, a process that serves to concentrate their natural sugars. Commandaria gets its name from the Gran Commanderie, an area surrounding the well preserved Kolossi Castle which is located west of Limassol. Commandaria gets its name from the Gran Commanderie, an area surrounding the well preserved Kolossi Castle which is located west of Limassol.  

City of Peace and Justice


The Hague’s Diplomats are at the Heart of the City of Peace and Justice

By Dr. Abiodun Williams, President, The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Last years’ centenary celebrations at the Peace Palace were a reminder that The Hague’s role as an international center of diplomatic activity is not new.  The anniversary gave cause to reflect on the reality that, notwithstanding The Hague’s profile as an international legal capital, the role it plays is even more expansive.  This is not merely a center of law, but more broadly, a place where justice is sought.  And the pursuit of justice, as the United Nations Charter underlines, must go hand in hand with peace.   The genesis of the Peace Palace reminds us that efforts to entrench the international rule of law are ultimately efforts to achieve lasting peace.  In this way, The Hague is not only a legal capital but, as the city’s Mayor importantly recognizes, the International City of Peace and Justice. The mission of realizing the promise of The Hague’s institutions and expertise is not one that rests only with courts, or with local policy-makers.  It is a goal which is shared by knowledge institutions like The Hague Institute for Global Justice and by the diplomats resident in the Netherlands.  Before arriving in The Hague a year ago, I served in senior postings at the United Nations and at the United States Institute for Peace.  I am therefore no stranger to either New York City and Washington DC, two cities whose diplomatic corps’ boast enormous expertise.  Nevertheless, since arriving in The Hague, I have been continually struck by the quality, ingenuity and effectiveness of the diplomatic representatives who live and work in the city.  They are, I find, some of the best in the world.   The work that the diplomatic community carries out here, on behalf of individual nations and the international community is, I believe, one of the attributes that is transforming The Hague into a pre-eminent international political capital. The Hague Institute, the organization which I lead, seeks to harness this experience and to ensure that, in this era of ‘networked diplomacy’, innovative links are made between the diplomatic corps, policy-makers in the Dutch government, business leaders, civil society and academics.  Through our monthly Hague Roundtable Series, we convene events under the Chatham House Rule to discuss key international issues and trends, including, for example, migration, the work of the ICTY and the Iran nuclear deal.  Our Distinguished Speaker Series, which over the past month has welcomed former German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, and former Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, aims to provide a platform for the world’s leading statesmen to engage with the diverse community of practitioners in The Hague, especially those in the diplomatic corps. The close ties that have been formed between The Hague Institute and many of the diplomatic missions in the city has been critical to our ongoing work.  In the months and years to come, I look forward to welcoming many more colleagues from this diverse community to The Hague Institute and to continuing our work to convene experts and disseminate cutting-edge knowledge to those in the policy-making process.  In so doing, I am convinced that the eyes of the world will increasingly turn to The Hague, not only in search of legal solutions, but also as a place where peace is pursued and achieved.

12th Consignment of Chemicals Removed from Syria

The OPCW-UN Joint Mission in Syria has confirmed that a 12th consignment of chemicals has been transported to the port of Latakia and removed from the country. Noting this latest consignment the OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü, expressed the hope that Syria will expedite the removal process. “This is the first shipment since 20 March. It is therefore important not only to follow this up with further rapid movements but also to make up for the lost time by increasing the volumes of chemicals to be removed”, said the Director General. For more on the OPCW in Syria, visit: http://www.opcw.org/special-sections/syria-and-the-opcw/

Central Asia—A Region of Strategic importance to China

By Fahim Masoud The five republics of Central Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan) are endowed with an immense amount of natural resources and are located in the center of Eurasia. The collapse of the Soviet Union made it possible for these Central Asian states to develop independent relations with the rest of the world.   However, the emerging economic and geopolitical significance of these five republics to China is currently defining the international relations of these republics. Kazakhstan in particular has attracted the interest of the Chinese government. Geographically, Kazakhstan shares a border with China’s western province, Xinjiang. Politically, Kazakhstan is still a dictatorship. China, unlike the United States and European powers, registers no objections to the Kazakh government’s “human rights abuses”. This makes China’s political and economic transactions with the Kazakh government much easier. As China’s thirst for oil and natural gas has stimulated the Chinese to invest heavily in the markets of Central Asia, Kazakhstan will continue to be a particular target for that investment. Janet Liao describes Chinese economic interest in Kazakhstan: With the steady growth of the Chinese economy and its energy demands, Kazakhstan together with other central Asian states— has become one of the key sources for China’s energy supply. In terms of absolute amounts, oil from Kazakhstan still only accounts for a small portion of China’s total oil imports: in 2004, China imported 1.19 million tons (8.3 million barrels) of crude oil from Kazakhstan, compared with the country’s total imports of 91million tons (636.8 million barrels), about 1.31 percent. Nevertheless, a bilateral strategic partnership underpinned by energy cooperation is believed to fit the fundamental interest of both nations. Of course, China is not the only country eyeing the natural resources of Central Asia. Western Europe, Russia, India, and the United States are interested as well. Thus it is no surprise that Central Asia in recent years has become the center of world attention. It is not only energy demands that draw China to Kazakhstan, but also security concerns. The western province of China—Xinjiang or the “NewTerritories”—was annexed to the Chinese empire in 1884. However, ever since its addition to the empire, the [Muslim] Uyghurs, the natives of the province, have been trying to separate and create their own independent state. During the upheaval and instability in China in the 1930s and 1940s, the Uyghurs broke away and created an independent Xinjiang. However, as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) emerged, Mao crushed the natives and re-annexed Xinjiang. Many of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang left China and settled throughout the region now governed by the five Central Asian republics. Uyghurs remaining in China have fomented unrest and been found responsible for “several bombings” in Xinjiang and other parts of China, writes Susan Shirk who is an expert on Chinese politics. China has been working with the Central Asian states to avoid political problems and to extinguish the remnant Uyghurs’ aspirations for an independent Xinjiang by preventing the Uyghurs’ partnering with the diaspora scattered throughout the region. The Uyghur dynamics are just one source of the multifactorial ethnic unrest that will continue to be a major domestic issue for China. Non-Uyghur separatist groups in Tibet and Mongolia also pose strategic threats to the regime. Thus, social unrest, in addition to economic concerns, contributes to need for China to march westward. Central Asia is at the center of a super-continent whose strategic importance is many fold: it is a continent that is home to three of the world’s most sophisticated and advanced economic regions. Seventy-five percent of the world’s population lives in Eurasia and, as Zbigniew Brzezinski notes, “three-fourths of the world’s energy resources” are there as well. Eurasia is also the world’s most dynamic continent, as it is the location of six of the largest economies as well as the six biggest military spenders. The location of Central Asia has made it a “strategic pivot.” The interconnectedness and high degree of economic interaction among great powers makes it unlikely that a strategic player (China or Russia) could use Central Asia as a staging ground for an invasion. However, it should be “America’s primary interest to help ensure that no single power come to control this geopolitical space” [Zbigniew Brzezinski] because any strategic player dominating Eurasia would likely seek to control other parts of the world. Central Asian countries, especially Kazakhstan, can be a conduit of stability, as their natural resources can satisfy some of the energy demands of the People’s Republic of China. Central Asian countries are rich in oil, natural gas, and other resources, and therefore, it makes sense for the Chinese to extend their economic muscle to that part of the world. Kazakhstan is a country that is rich in natural resources and can help Beijing with the prospect of creating jobs for its citizens. China has been working on many infrastructure projects in Kazakhstan: roads, railroads, bridges, airports, and pipelines. These efforts further demonstrate the importance of Central Asia to the Chinese government.

EU policy Justice and Domestic Policy

Direct from the European Commission. There is an end to the five-year on December 1, 2014 Stockholm Programme of the European Council and its Action Plan, the Commission ( IP/10/447 ), identifying priorities in the area of freedom, security and justice are established. Transition also ends that had been committed. In the Lisbon Treaty concerning justice Therefore, the Commission presented in Annex future package that will be submitted to the Council on 26 June 2014. JUSTICE POLICY
  • Mutual trust should be the basis of justice policies of the EU (eg EU instruments such as the European arrest warrant and the rules relating to conflicts between Member States)
  • It should be a priority to continue to take that EU citizens encounter when they exercise their right to freedom of movement and residence. In another EU country, the obstacles
  • Companies must be assured that they are an efficient way to enforce compliance with contracts across the EU and disputes can make without the problems it while still experiencing now pending.
INSTRUMENT OF LAW In order to cope with the threats to which the rule system is exposed in each of the 28 Member States, the European Commission adopted a new framework today. The new framework for the rule of law complements the infringement proceedings – which apply when EU law is not respected – and the so-called “Article 7 procedure” of the Lisbon Treaty, the new framework provides a tool early warning.. With this, the Commission and the MemberState concerned may consult in order to prevent systemic threats escalate. When offering the new framework of the EU law no solution, 7 is always the last resort to resolve a crisis and to ensure that European values ​​are observed. The new framework makes visible how the Commission exercises its role under the Treaties. No new powers for the Commission created or claimed. Examples of system threats in recent years: Attempt to dismantle (Romania), attempt to undermine (Hungary) the independence of judges to the Constitutional   Court. HOME AFFAIRS POLICY The Stockholm Programme, which in 2010-2014 was decisive for the policy in the area of home affairs, is nearing its end. Therefore, the Commission now presents a strategic vision for the future priorities for Home Affairs: the agreed legislation and existing instruments should be fully implemented and the EU to respond to new opportunities and challenges. What improvements are possible?
  • Synergies with other policies (such as trade) can be improved,
  • the movement of highly skilled service can be better controlled,
  • a structured dialogue on labor migration can be set up with Member States, industry and trade unions,
  • the recognition of foreign professional qualifications and skills can be simplified,
  • and that more work can be made ​​of the integration of migrants into the labor market and the host societies at large.

A milestone in the contemporary history of Peru

By John Dunkelgrün, Editor. Ambassador Allan Wagner Tizon is a special man. The first thing you notice about him is that he is tall, very tall and that he carries his length with dignity and elegance. Then you see his smile, a wide, honest engaging smile. Ambassador Wagner is a warm friendly man who knows how to make you feel at ease, a man of such accomplishments he needs no pretenses. He studied engineering because he liked mathematics, but realized he preferred the humanities to abstract problems. He wanted to help people, to help his country. So he studied humanities and law as well, yet amazingly managed to finish and enter the Foreign Ministry at the age of 21. He was sent to Switzerland for further studies and had early posts in Uruguay, the USA and Chile. What drew him to this work was a two-pronged approach: he could serve his country and work for the cooperation between countries, especially the countries of Latin America. There he was instrumental in the formation of the Andean Group, later the Andean Community of which he eventually became Secretary General. He worked particularly at establishing and improving regional infrastructure and the Strategic Alliance between Peru and Brazil. His achievements brought him as ambassador to Spain, Venezuela and the U.S. Three times he held Cabinet posts, twice as Minister of Foreign Affairs (the first time when he was only 43!)  and once, as the first civilian in Peru, Minister of Defense. In 2008 at the age of 66 he was appointed Ambassador to The Netherlands as the Agent of Peru in a maritime conflict with Chile which was to be adjudicated by the International Court of Justice. JD: It looks like your whole career prepared you just for this job. AW: Oh no. I have no special knowledge of maritime law. What I brought to this case was experience in organizing teams of experts, of setting strategies in handling the case, and in directing the research on the issues involved. It was a real team effort and we found exceptional people for our team. JD: Are you happy with the outcome? AW: Yes, we gained 75% of the space we thought should belong to Peru. We didn’t get the fishing grounds close to shore, but those were mainly for anchovy of which we have a lot already. The waters we gained yield other fish like mackerel, tuna and giant squid. Immediately after the Court’s decision we started studying what those waters could bring and we are very enthusiastic. JD: Aren’t the people of Tacna (the Peruvian port near the border, JD) disappointed, even angry? AW: No, you got that wrong. They were disappointed at first, because they didn’t immediately realize what they were gaining. Before the decision, the boats from Tacna had to cross 200 nautical miles to reach their fishing grounds, now just 80. The boats from ILO (the largest fishing port in Peru’s South, JD) had only 40 miles of Peruvian waters in front of them, now they have 200. JD: There were people in Chile who were very angry with how their government was handling it, who even demanded the case be withdrawn from the International Court. AW: There were a few people and newspaper articles which got far too much attention. It was never serious and besides, it wasn’t possible to withdraw from “The Hague”. JD: Is Chile happy with the deal? Are they ready to implement the decision or are they dragging their feet? AW: Following the Courts decision Chile and Peru have to set the exact coordinates together, which has to be done by the 25th of March. This is going smoothly and exactly to plan. JD: So there really are no more disputes between you? AW: There has been a substantial improvement in the quality of our relations in the past few years. There are over 100,000 Peruvians living in Chile and a similar number of Chileans living in Peru. The relations between Tacna  and its Chilean neighbor Arica are excellent. There are close to six million border crossings a year. We can now go forward. JD: So you and your team can look back upon a job well done? AW: (trying to be modest, but beaming) Yes! JD: What are you going to do now? AW: First a vacation, probably in the Holy Land where we have never been, and then back to retirement. I am going to study musicology, philosophy and some theology. I’ll continue giving lectures at university and spend time with my family and friends. JD: Is there anything else you would like to say? AD: Just that I am grateful to The Netherlands and the Dutch people who allowed me to spend six happy years here and to the diplomatic community in The Hague whom I found helpful and of a generally very high level.  

Qatar and The Netherlands

By  Khalid Fahad AlKhater, Ambassador of the State of Qatar in The Netherlands.   Qatar and The Netherlands share common features: Both relatively small in geography but high in aspirations, they are open to the sea, and their international trade is the basis of their wealth and economic prosperity. It is then no surprise that the relations between The Netherlands and Qatar grew and developed beyond oil and gas industry. In few years, the bilateral ties between the two countries has expanded to a collaboration in several sectors such as education, sport, infrastructure, healthcare and seaport industry. Strong traditional diplomacy is also evident in the form of political consultations regarding a number of regional and international important issues. In August 2005 the Netherlands opened its  Embassy in Doha on the occasion of an official visit of the former prime minister Mr. Balkennende, in the perspective of the increasing business interests of The Netherlands in the booming  Qatar economy. A year later Qatar opened its Embassy in The Hague in September 2006, and in June of the 2007 the former  Deputy Prime Minister of the State of Qatar visited The Netherlands and took part in key diplomatic  and economic meetings . Since the opening of both embassies , the bilateral relations in different areas has witnessed  various trade missions and official visits. In particular, the visit of  H.M. The Queen of the Netherlands  to Qatar in March  2011 , which was a successful state visit at all levels, and a good beginning for a privileged relationship between the two monarchy of both countries. In recent years, Qatar has achieved key economic development goals, and continues to be a hub of development, constructions and innovation in all sectors. Qatar seeks diversification to reduce dependence on energy export as the main source of wealth.  Thanks to the Qatar Vision 2030, which is pursued under the auspices of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Emir of  the State of Qatar, progress continues more vigorously   than ever. Since Qatar won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Country became even more attractive to the Dutch expertise in infrastructure and sport management. The Port of Rotterdam has close cooperation with Ras Laffan port in Qatar with the perspective of  both ports to develop their joint  business in LNG industry and for Ras Laffan to which is already one of the main LNG terminals in the world. Furthermore, the Dutch company Shell is currently involved in a huge project in Qatar that will create the world’s biggest Gas to Liquid industrial platform. While Oil and Gas will continue to be a key component of the relationship, the relations between Qatar and The Netherlands are steadily developing to encompass broader interests as the basis for a long and fruitful friendship.

Kenya: Vision 2030’s opportunities for trade and investment

By Rose Makena Muchiri, Ambassador of Kenya to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As Kenya continues to commemorate its Golden Jubilee celebrations this year, we look back and appreciate the strides made by the Country since independence. Our journey as a country has not been easy, politically, economically and socially; however at the end of the day we stand as a United Kenya hopeful for a brighter future for the next generations. Our National development blue-print the Vision 2030 aims “to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens by 2030 in a clean and secure environment”. The Vision 2030 is being steered by the dynamic and youthful team of leaders of the Jubilee coalition whose Manifesto is consistent with that of the country’s Vision. Under the Vision 2030, the Government seeks to improve the prosperity of all regions of the country. It seeks to do this through various flagship projects, which would be either government financed or through public-private partnerships. The opportunities available for trade and investments in these projects are found in six priority sectors that make up the larger part of Kenya’s GDP (57%): Tourism, Agriculture, Wholesale and retail trade, Manufacturing, IT enabled services and Financial Services. One of my top priorities as Ambassador in The Netherlands has been to link the Kenyan agenda to prospective investors and businesses in The Netherlands particularly and indeed in Europe in general. Following her visit to Kenya in October 2013, Honourable Lilianne Ploumen, Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation concurred that Kenya was open for business and that the investment climate was conducive. She also confirmed that Kenya remains a key trade and business partner for the Netherlands, which is why she led a large business delegation to Kenya to seek investment and trade opportunities. We therefore welcome potential Dutch investors to consider Kenya, which has been labelled as a viable business hub and to partner in fields where they have excelled in The Netherlands such as maritime and port development, infrastructure development including railway and road networks, healthcare, agriculture and renewable energy amongst several others. Choosing Kenya as an investment destination will also provide entry to the East Africa Community region, which has a strong and growing market of a population of 135 million people. In order to access this, Kenya offers convenient infrastructure, having the second largest port in Africa, a strategic rail corridor and being the regional leader in air transportation. In addition, Kenya enjoys a well-developed information and communications technology, which includes a large part of the country having internet access courtesy of the fibre optics network, which is the largest in the region. Our Mission will continue to engage and provide the necessary support to investors who are ready to set up or expand their presence in Kenya.