The United Kingdom government has announced a Sh10 billion investment deal in the Coast aimed at developing infrastructure, creating jobs and strengthening the investment climate.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey said the UK had ploughed Sh9 billion into infrastructure projects to boost trade and tourism and attract new investments in the region.
He added that among the major projects being supported by his government are the construction of the Moi International Airport road in Mombasa’s mainland to address traffic congestion on the key road.
Mr Hailey said the UK government, through TradeMark East Africa, partly financed the airport road at the cost of Sh2 billion ($20 million).
“The airport road is important for tourism and business. When completed, tourists and businesspeople will take shorter time to get to various destinations in the region,” he said.
Mr Hailey made the remarks at EnglishPoint Marina in Mombasa on Tuesday, when he officially launched the Coast chapter of the British Chamber of Commerce Kenya (BCCK).
“The UK government is also supporting the construction of a cruise ship terminal at the port of Mombasa to uplift cruise tourism in the region,” he added.
The British High Commissioner said his government had also supported the automation of the tea auction in Mombasa to boost the tea trade in the country.
On tourism, Mr Hailey said the UK government has been supporting the industry’s revival through encouraging British tourists to visit the country for leisure, safari and business.
The UK, he added, has also been supporting Kenya in the war against terrorism to address security challenges posed by Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
“At the moment, the number of British tourists visiting Kenya for holiday is on the increase as we are supporting the tourism recovery efforts,” he said.
On the launch of the BCCK Coast chapter, Mr Hailey said the chamber would support a wide range of sectors including tourism, agri-business, shipping, infrastructure and transport.
The High Commissioner added that the BCCK would also provide a further platform for UK and Kenyan companies to work together, form partnerships, share innovation and building prosperity in the region.
“We want to see more links between UK and Kenyan businesses to help create jobs and a better business environment,” he said.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, who also attended the event, thanked the UK government for partly financing the construction of the airport road, adding that the project would ease transportation of passengers from and to Moi Airport.
“For the first time, Mombasa will have a flyover on the airport road following the UK government’s support to the construction of the key road,” he said.
The governor called on the UK government to support Kenyan businesses to promote trade between the two countries.
Mr Joho called on British investors to invest in Mombasa to help create jobs and economic growth and strengthen trade links with Kenyans.
Taita-Taveta Governor John Mruttu urged the British to take advantage of the investment potential to uplift the economy of the county.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy called on BCCK to look into the possibility of opening more chapters in other counties in the region to promote trade.
BCCK Coast branch chairman David Mackay said the chamber would explore business potential including shipping logistics, banking, insurance, finance and real estate.
Mr Mackay said the chamber would also lobby for British investors to get tenders for development projects being financed by the UK government.