NAIROBI, KENYA: UK Prime Minister Theresa May concluded her marathon tour of Africa in Kenya on Thursday after similar trips to South Africa and Nigeria.
The Premier arrived at State House Nairobi some few minutes after 11 am for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
After a gun salute in her honour, the two leaders headed for a bilateral talks at State House after which they are expected to address a joint press conference.
May and her host are expected later at the Nairobi CBD at the Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum before proceeding to Embakasi to open a cybercrime Unit funded by the UK. She will be also at the Strathmore University and Gigiri.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s three-day trip to Africa is her first visit to the continent as Prime Minister.
The visit comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.
Ahead of her African tour, May said the UK would aggressively pursue foreign and economic policies that would see it become the biggest investor in Africa, tacitly indicating that the European power house was keen on checking Chinese economic hegemony in Africa.
May is the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013, and the first to visit Kenya for over 30 years.
London says the visit is aimed at bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16 percent of the world's people but just 3 percent of Foreign Direct Investment and 3 percent of global goods trade.
“I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK Prime Minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.”
The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations. The delegation shows the breadth and depth of British expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.
Other than seeking increased investments from UK firms, Kenya is keen on growing exports to the UK. Trade with the UK, a huge market for cut flowers and tea, has stagnated in recent years. Kenyan exports to the country have stagnated and stood at Sh38.5 billion as of December last year, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
This is in comparison to Sh37.6 billion in 2013. Over the five years, there have been instances where the value of exports to the country also dipped.
The value of imports from the UK has been on a consistent decline over the last five years, dropping to Sh30 billion last year from Sh49 billion in 2013.
The UK is, however, still the largest tourist market source for Kenya, with the country receiving 168,000 British nationals last year.