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Wooing UK investors vital

Tuesday January 28 2020

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With Sh227 billion worth of trade pacts, President Uhuru Kenyatta has returned from a successful mission to the just-ended UK-Africa Investment Summit.

It comes at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a resounding mandate to withdraw Britain from the European Union.

However, for Kenya, this one outing confirms that there is, indeed, a future after Brexit. It is a welcome signal that Kenya can continue to benefit from its long traditional links with Britain.

Of course the accent has been on enhancing trade rather than aid as donor fatigue set in decades ago.

The challenge for Kenya should be how to deepen ties and reap maximum benefits from both the UK and EU as separate sources of investment and trade to boost its traditional trade around agricultural produce and seek to get into more lucrative and high-value enterprises.

A sure bet is the development and expansion of services, including tourism.



The 16 African countries that took part in the London meeting are eyeing deals valued at more than Sh8.6 trillion. For Kenya, they include a Sh158 billion deal by British oil firm Tullow.

Kenya must create an enabling environment for business. There are other potential areas in energy development, especially the renewable alternatives in solar and geothermal exploration.

There are several challenges, though. One of the most devastating is corruption, which can only repel would-be investors.

Another is the lack of adequate skilled manpower and markets and, of course, insecurity, especially terrorism.


The revamped campaign against graft is a sure means to attract investment.

Terrorism is a global problem that calls for greater international cooperation. To provide skilled manpower, there is a significant focus on technical and vocational training.

These challenges should serve as an aspiration to do better by seeking the right solutions.