Ukrainian delegation visits Kenya: Kyiv actively pursues business and diplomatic relations with Nairobi amid ongoing conflict

  • 9 Feb 2024
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Shammah Sirima

The Republic of Ukraine, despite the ongoing conflict, is actively seeking diplomatic partnerships and building relationships with Kenya. A delegation from Ukraine was in the country recently to meet various government officials and Members of Parliament to discuss areas of interest. Such sectors of interest include agriculture, business, academics and culture.


Ukraine has been marked by a fragmented governance system, with officials pursuing cooperation and establishing relations with various corporations worldwide. The delegation included representatives from private entities and commonwealth representatives who sought to coordinate with different private industries in the country to help empower multiple sectors of both economies.

Material destruction has affected business operations beyond the end of the war and could have long-term structural impacts on the Ukrainian economy, including its productive capacity, which will also have knock-on effects on their downstream value chains. Based on a survey of 355 SME owners in Ukraine, 86% were forced to either reduce or halt their activities within a month after the invasion due to fewer orders, logistical challenges, destruction of facilities, lack of raw materials and shortage of staff

The engagement of private entities according to the delegation is a strategy to empower the Ukrainian people and strive for self-achieved sovereignty. State actors, due to the conflict, hesitate to engage due to diplomatic relations with Russia. However, this approach has attracted multiple companies within the European Union (EU) to invest in these industries and pursue business opportunities in Kyiv. Such an opportunity has provided the EU with a new potential partner for diplomatic relations and international business relationships with states beyond Western Europe. By engaging private entities, they reserve their sovereign immunity by avoiding foreign government actors, policies and politics within their state and encourage the empowerment of private corporations.


The delegation expressed interest in creating partnerships with companies in Africa by creating relationships with key states such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Most companies within the targeted states have shown hesitation considering the war that has left residents and visitors of Kyiv frequenting bomb shelters from the onslaught of airstrikes from Russia.


With GDP contracting significantly, loss of income may only partly be compensated by foreign aid and a surge in settlements from Ukrainian workers. Domestic economic recovery and the future of the SME sector will depend, to a large extent, on the scale and ambition of the reconstruction plan and its timely implementation and/or engagement from foreign investors. This has caused a weakening in Ukraine’s domestic economic chain as demand continues to reduce.


According to multiple analysts, the engagement of private corporations is a strategy to regain economic structure in Kyiv. However, it is unable to promote peace-keeping efforts. The continuous attacks from Russia will continue to demotivate companies and governments from engaging. This creates a high-risk economic opportunity that will either yield a high reward or lose investment over the conflict. The gap created by the conflict can give any organisation the chance to be a monopoly in the Kyiv market. Early investment offers each company an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage, contingent upon the resolution of the war with Ukraine maintaining its sovereignty and Russia refraining from invading to claim territory.


The pursuit of engaging the private sector can also be seen as a new resource for Ukraine to fund their conflict. Their outreach to create relationships with African states may only seek to benefit them in the long run, as Ukraine is in no position to invest in foreign entities and instead will face obstacles as they seek foreign investment.