President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Brexit presents an opportunity for Kenya and the UK to forge stronger trade ties.
President Kenyatta, who was speaking on Tuesday in London, called for private sector support to accelerate delivery of the Big 4 Agenda projects.
He said that Kenya is entering a new stage in its partnership with the UK post-Brexit.
“I think this (Brexit) might end up being a blessing in disguise for all of us. 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.
He added: “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,” President Kenyatta said.
He added that the move by UK to aggressively seek new opportunities outside Europe could be advantageous to Kenya and the rest of Africa.
The President was speaking in London during a meeting between Kenya and UK business executives on Tuesday.
“Kenya is opening new opportunities not just for local but also (for) foreign investors. We welcome you to Nairobi, the gateway to East and Central Africa,” he told UK investors at the meeting.
BIG FOUR AGENDA
On the Big 4 Agenda, President Kenyatta said the four areas of affordable housing, food security, manufacturing and universal health present huge investment opportunities and partnership for both Kenyan and British investors.
“We are focused on achieving the Big 4 Agenda that we think will lift the living stands of our people, deepen prosperity across the nation, create greater equity and ultimately bring about sustainable political stability,” the President said.
He said that the blue economy is 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.
He urged the Kenyan and British business executives to use the meeting as a platform for creating new business linkages, strengthening existing partnerships and promoting investments.
He noted that UK is one of Kenya’s key strategic trade partners and ranks as the fifth largest export destination for Kenyan goods.
“Kenya has established a market niche in the United Kingdom for some of its leading products such as tea, coffee, flowers, fruits and vegetables,” he said.
He added: “We have never lost faith in UK manufactured goods including motor vehicles, printed materials, machinery, and chemicals.”
Speaking at the meeting, UK Deputy Commissioner for Africa Rebecca Fisher-Lamb said UK companies continue to grow their investments in Kenya.
She cited the East African Breweries parent company, Diageo, which plans to spend 100 million pounds to scale up its operations in the country.
Apart from Diageo, the UK Deputy Commissioner for Africa said Tullow Oil is also injecting 1.2 billion pounds in Kenya's emerging oil and gas sector.
She lauded Kenya’s relation with the UK, saying it was referenced at every session of the just concluded inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit as the type of relationship that the UK wants to build with Africa.
“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.
Cabinet Secretaries Ukur Yatani (Treasury), Monica Juma (Defence) and Adan Mohammed (East African Community & Regional Development) as well as Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge and Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK Amb. Manoah Esipisu attended the meeting.