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UK foreign Secretary to visit Kenya

Thursday May 2 2019

Jeremy Hunt

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives to attend a service of commemoration and thanksgiving to mark Anzac Day in Westminster Abbey in London on April 25, 2019. PHOTO | DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS | AFP 

AGGREY MUTAMBO
By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is expected in the country today (Thursday) as part of what his office said is “to make the case for new UK partnerships across Africa.”

Mr Hunt, who has already toured Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Ethiopia is expected to continue his country’s “new UK diplomatic push across the continent”, targeting climate change, good governance and investments to redeem the British influence in Africa.

PROJECTS IN AFRICA

The UK will be pushing to have back its significance on the continent which has lately turned its head towards China.

According to a dispatch from the UK Foreign Office, Mr Hunt’s Africa tour is to follow up on British Premier Theresa May’s visit, focusing on the Anglophones but also in non-English speaking regions where the “UK has traditionally played a smaller role.”

The visit follows a pledge by the British government to pump an initial £30 million (Sh3.9 billion) funding for security and development projects in Africa.

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In February, UK Minister of State for Africa Harriett Baldwin announced the projects form part of a programme to invest in the continent and strengthen relations with the African Union.

The money will be used to train peacekeepers in Kenya, assist in programmes promoting free and fair elections, as well as help implementing the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement to improve intra-Africa business.

Mr Hunt’s exact agenda or programme in Kenya was not immediately publicised, but on this trip he has also campaigned for transparency, investments and conservation as key pillars of British relations with Africa.

While in Ghana on Tuesday, he said: “You can have anti-corruption campaigns but the best medicine of all is sunlight,” in reference to the work of investigative journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas who exposed graft in Ghana’s judiciary.

PRESS FREEDOM

In Addis Ababa on Wednesday, he paid tribute to journalists in the region who have risked lives to report on corrupt dealings.

His visit follows the agreement signed between Nairobi and London for the UK to return assets and proceeds of corruption to Kenya. It targeted ill-gotten wealth hidden in Britain in cash, real estate, ranches and shares in shady companies.

Two weeks ago, UK Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Max Hill was in Nairobi to pledge “every possible support” in returning stolen cash as well as prosecutions.

The UK has argued its relations with Kenya will be based on clean deals. Some 220 British firms have invested in Kenya: in finance, insurance, energy, agriculture and other areas worth £2.7 billion, creating jobs, according to the Foreign Office which also argues Kenya sold more to UK (Sh38.5 billion) that it bought (Sh30 billion)

Mr Hunt becomes the third Foreign Secretary to visit Nairobi in four years. Previous holders of the office; Philip Hammond and Boris Johnson, visited Kenya in 2015 and 2017, respectively. They talked security, corruption and investments.

Mr Hammond later served as ex-chequer while Mr Johnson later resigned over Brexit chaos.