Kenya, Britain tighten trade ties

Deputy President William Ruto and the British High Commissioner to Kenya Mr. Nic Hailey

Kenya and Britain on Wednesday renewed their commitment to pursuing relations based on trade and investment as opposed to aid.

At a meeting between Deputy President William Ruto and the British High Commissioner to Kenya Mr Nic Hailey, it was pointed out that areas that could be of mutual benefit include energy, infrastructure, agriculture and water.

DP Ruto encouraged British firms to invest in Kenya’s energy sector, particularly in the geothermal and in oil industries, further adding that there was great potential in agriculture where British firms could invest in agro-processing.

“We would like to have a win-win situation best fashioned on trade and investment as opposed to aid,” said Ruto, adding “we believe strongly that investment in the energy sector and in infrastructure will be the engine of growth of our economy.”

The two also agreed that the UK could play a leading role in the modernisation of the Port of Mombasa.

The deputy president noted with satisfaction that British companies had invested in Kenya’s tourism industry, in banking and agriculture, adding that this investment should be leveraged further by value addition, especially in the agricultural sector.

Mr Ruto noted that in 2014, exports from Kenya amounted to Ksh35.9 billion while imports amounted to Ksh47.03 billion.

The British High Commissioner acknowledged the pivotal role British companies play in Kenya’s economy, noting that the top 10 taxpayer companies in Kenya are British.

Said Mr Hailey: “We are the number one source of tourists to Kenya and we would like to maintain that position. We also feel that continued increase of investment in the energy sector, particularly in geothermal and in oil will create job opportunities for Kenyans.”

The high commissioner said the UK would continue to partner with Kenya in the fight against terrorism, especially in the areas of counter terrorism.

In 2015, the UK lifted its previous restrictions against all but essential travel to within 15 kilometres of the coast in Malindi from Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) river down to Watamu.


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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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