Foreign Secretary visits Kenya to strengthen UK-Kenya partnership with President Kenyatta in most senior UK visit since COVID-19

UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, visited Nairobi (20 January) for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Raychelle Omamo, and other senior figures in the Kenyan Government.

The Foreign Secretary discussed further opportunities to partner on trade with President Kenyatta. UK-Kenya trade is already worth [GBP 1.4 billion/ KES 200 billion].

In addition, he signed a new Health Partnership with Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe designed at maximising knowledge share between medical professionals in both the UK and Kenya – including joint work to tackle COVID-19 – and met the scientists at KEMRI Laboratory involved in helping to develop the Oxford Vaccine. The UK has provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Health to help prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in Kenya, to ensure the vaccine gets to those who need it as quickly as possible.

During a packed one-day programme, the Foreign Secretary made announcements on climate change, and alongside Defence Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma, met soldiers at the UK-backed Counter-IED centre at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Embakasi, to hear how joint Kenya-UK efforts are countering terrorism.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, said:

“The UK and Kenya have a strong and enduring relationship. It’s delivering for our people: growing trade, countering terrorism, tackling climate change and COVID-19 together.

“In the last year alone we have expanded our trade to over KES 200 billion, agreed a health partnership and tackled terrorist threats.

“I was delighted to meet President Kenyatta to discuss our flourishing trade partnership, just a month after signing a new trade deal, and to secure more action on climate change and health.”

He also met Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, where they discussed Kenya’s two-year term on the UN Security Council. A year on from President Kenyatta and Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreeing a five-year Strategic Partnership between our two countries, they agreed an official review mechanism to make sure the strategy is powering forward.

They also discussed our partnership on education, ahead of Prime Minister Johnson and President Kenyatta co-hosting the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Replenishment Summit in the UK in July. This will raise funding and drive forward policy changes for more inclusive education systems, especially for girls.

On a visit to Liquid Intelligent Technologies, the Foreign Secretary announced KES 7.2 billion (£48 million) of new UK climate initiatives for Kenya and other partners, as we build momentum ahead of COP26 in Glasgow in November. This will help developing countries shift to clean energy and transport, and provide them with technical assistance and advice on disaster risk finance and climate risk insurance. Through CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, the UK government has invested KES 24 billion in Liquid Intelligent Technologies to expand digital connectivity across Africa.

The Foreign Secretary also announced UK support for President Kenyatta’s initiative to build affordable homes for Kenyans. The KES 8 billion (£53 million) deal – including KES 1 billion (£7 million) from UK-funded InfraCo and KES 7 billion (£46 million) of private investment – will mean affordable housing for 10,000 Kenyans. The project is through Acorn Housing – President Kenyatta attended the launch of Kenya’s first green bond on the London Stock Exchange by Acorn a year ago.

This is the Foreign Secretary’s first visit to East Africa, where he has seen for himself how the new Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is combining UK development and diplomatic expertise to advance partnerships in the region. He is joined by the UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, as part of a senior delegation showing the UK’s partnership with, and commitment, to Kenya.

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