Uhuru leads scramble for post-Brexit UK trade

President Uhuru Kenyatta (second right) with (from left) Presidents Mohamed Ould El Ghazouani (Mauritania), Nana Akufo-Addo (Ghana) and UK Secretary of State for International Development Alok Sharma at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020. [PSCU]

UK's exit from the European Union (Brexit) presents an opportunity for deeper trade ties with Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said. 

Speaking in London during a meeting between Kenya and UK business executives at the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020, Uhuru said Kenya is entering a new stage in its partnership with post-Brexit UK.

“I think this might end up being a blessing in disguise for all of us. And I think there is huge potential to re-ignite once again the partnership and the investments that were actually the driving force of global economy," he said.

Uhuru pitched for private sector support to accelerate the delivery of projects pushing Kenya's Big 4 agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

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“I must admit that some of us are not keen on a Brexit situation, but I must also say we are glad that it has happened,” he said.

Uhuru told the forum that the move by UK to aggressively seek new opportunities outside Europe could be advantageous to Kenya and the rest of Africa.

“Kenya is opening new opportunities not just for local but also foreign investors. We welcome you to Nairobi, the gateway to East and Central Africa,” Uhuru told UK investors.

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On the Big Four Agenda, Uhuru said the four areas presented huge investment opportunities and partnerships for both Kenyan and British investors. He also singled out the blue economy as another new area where both Kenyan and British investors could venture in.

“We have huge resources in terms of the blue economy and we want to see how investors can work with local communities to create sustainable employment. Our duty, as government, is to create a conducive environment for that to happen,” he said.

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Uhuru urged the Kenyan and British business executives to use the meeting to create new business links, strengthen existing partnerships and promote investments. 

“Kenya has established a market niche in the United Kingdom for some of its leading products such as tea, coffee, flowers, fruits and vegetables,” said the president.

“We, on the hand, have never lost faith in UK manufactured goods including motor vehicles, printed materials, machinery, and chemicals,” he said.

UK Deputy Commissioner for Africa Rebecca Fisher-Lamb said UK companies continue to grow their investments in Kenya.

“My most favourite highlight of the day was the number of references that Kenya got at the summit in the Prime Minister’s opening speech,” she said.

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Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yatani, Monica Juma and Adan Mohammed, Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and Kenya's High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu attended the meeting.

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President Uhuru KenyattaUK-Africa Investment Summit 2020Big Four Agenda