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Britain seeks new allies in post-Brexit strategy as May meets Kenyatta

By Roselyne Obala and Wainaina Wambu | Published Wed, August 29th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 28th 2018 at 22:59 GMT +3
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. [AFP]

British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in the country tomorrow as part of Britain's charm offensive, targeting the Sub-Saharan region, for renewed partnerships in the post-Brexit period.

May chose Kenya, alongside South Africa and Nigeria, to pitch her agenda as Britain prepares to leave the European Union (EU) and strengthen its global partnerships.

May, in her first visit to Africa since becoming British leader in 2016, will be accompanied by 29 UK business representatives.

She becomes the second UK Prime Minister to visit Kenya after Margaret Thatcher who called on then President Daniel arap Moi in 1988.

After meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, May will meet British soldiers, who are training troops from Kenya and other African countries on combating terrorism.

Her Africa trip started yesterday in South Africa then Nigeria today and ends in Kenya tomorrow.

“I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa,” said May in South Africa yesterday.

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May will hold talks with President Kenyatta.

For Uhuru, the meeting is crucial as UK is a major source of Foreign Direct Investment.

“UK is a major trading partner of Kenya and will remain so. The meeting is important for Kenya as she is interest in increased trade, particularly in sectors that are related to the Big Four Agenda,” said a source within the presidency.

The President will push for bilateral trade post-Brexit, especial in the oil field, rationalisation of visa requirements especially for business travelers, securing support for enhanced regional security and enable Kenya grow and secure its blue economy.

May’s delegation will showcase the breadth and depth of their expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.

In 2015, Uhuru turned down a request to extend British soldiers' training contract at their Nanyuki base, Laikipia County, following protests from local leaders. However, in 2016, he rescinded the decision.

“The military agreement was renewed in 2016 and the National Assembly approved the same,” said the source.

British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said he was delighted that May will be in Kenya this week.

“The visit will deliver investment, strengthen UK-Kenya partnerships in security and development and support the crucial fight against corruption. Looking forward to the visit,” he stated.

Ex-PM David Cameron's visit to Nairobi in 2016 was cancelled at the last minute after the Brexit vote.


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