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UK and Kenya Agree to Increase Trade Ties

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Continuing mutual interests on key areas, such as trade, counter-terrorism and investment in green technology between the United Kingdom (U.K) and Kenya is set to continue, a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta secured investment deals worth over Kshs 170.08 billion.

This was the key message between President Uhuru Kenyatta when he led a delegation of Kenyan Cabinet Secretaries to meet the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his official residence at Number 10 Downing Street in London during the continuing UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, where the emphasis is to focus on the trade ties between the two countries after the end of Brexit, a trade pact deal that was to end on October 31st, 2019, but is yet to.

Brexit is in reference to the decision by Britain to leave the trading bloc of the European Union (E.U.) by January 31st 2019, though the UK has until December 31st 2019 to do so, where the British Parliament passes the EU Withdrawal Bill, with a success part of the vote being that those who live in the EU can be allowed to have legal status, though there are other legal issues pending, such as the validity of the European Court of Justice.

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Britain is also seeking for a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Prime Minister Johnson said that not only will the trade with Kenya continue, but that Britain is looking for an expanded deal, such as the interest to buy the country’s tea.

This is despite Britain’s interest in Kenya’s tea dropping in the last two years, majorly affected by Brexit, as the country was not just buying the commodity for itself, but also for other European countries.

The Kenya Tea Directorate as of March 2018 states that Kenya’s tea exports to Britain were 3.1. Kilogrammes.

“ We are doing well on renewable energy and the UK is further committed to partner with Kenya to attain 100 percent renewable energy,” says premier Boris Johnson.

President Kenyatta has already rung the bell on the London Stock Exchange (L.S.E), for the cross-listing of Kenya’s first company, Acorn Holdings, to trade for green bonds, a medium term debt instrument that will enable it to raise funding for environmentally safe housing for students.

Counter-terrorism

Prime Minister Johnson further said that the UK and Kenya are further partnering on counter-terrorism, a vice of which Kenya has been a victim of.

Earlier this month, the United States of America (U.S.A.) military training base in Mandu Bay island in Lamu was attacked by Al Shabaab, leading to the death of two American soldiers and Department of Defence (D.o.D) contractor.

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Thereafter, the UK. government through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F.C.O) warned its citizens against travel to Kenya based on the terrorist attack.

This is significant because almost 190,000 UK citizens travel to Kenya annually.

Tourism is also a source of income for the country, earning the country Kshs 157 billion in 2018, up from Kshs 119 billion in 2017, according to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

In April 2019, the UK also had to drop travel advisories placed in certain areas of Kenya due to the susceptibility to terrorist attacks, such as Naivasha, Narok, Nanyuki and Meru following an Al Shabaab attack on the DustItD2 hotel complex in the Riverside area of Nairobi.

Prime Minister Johnson, however, said that such travel advisories continue to harm the economy and will be abolished.

“ When these travel advisories are issued, they result in job losses in the tourism sector, which result in the radicalization of our youth,” explained President Kenyatta in a statement from the Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) dated January 22nd, 2019.

Prime Minister Johnson further said that the UK is committed to additional funding by Britain, though he did not specify by how much, of its military training outpost in Nanyuki to train Kenyan officers as a way to foster the military partnership between UK and Kenya.

Another area that the UK government is committed to is urban planning and transport solutions.

“ The Nairobi regeneration project is on course but other than that we also seek viable transport solutions for our people. This is an area that we can partner in,” says President Kenyatta.

Affordable housing, a component of the Jubilee government’s Big Four Agenda, other than food security, manufacturing and universal health care is of also importance to the UK-Kenya governments, with the hope of reconstructing the houses in the country’s Eastlands estate, such as the already constructed Park Road Project to address the housing gap that is presently in the country currently standing at 2 billion, according to the World Bank.

Towards this end, the UK Climate Investment, a joint collaboration between the Green Investment Group and UK’s Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has agreed to invest $39 million to construct 10,000 affordable homes in the country.

Also at the No. 10 Downing Street meeting between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President Kenyatta was Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning Ukur Yattani, Cabinet secretary for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Monica Juma and Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, Adan Mohammed.

Also in attendance was the Kenyan Ambassador to the UK, Manoah Esipisu.

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