Kenya and the UK on Thursday signed an agreement to ensure proceeds of corruption and crime hidden in Britain are returned in a continued bid by President Uhuru Kenyatta to fight the vice.
The pact was signed during a meeting between President Kenyatta and UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who is on a one-day visit to Kenya.
It was the second in three months after Kenya signed another deal with Switzerland in June 2018, when Swiss president Alain Berset visited the Nairobi.
In his speech, President Kenyatta lauded the Kenyan-Britain pact to return proceeds of crime, saying it will help deter the corrupt.
“We need to make it painfully unrewarding, and expensive to get into corruption,” he said at State House, Nairobi, following bilateral talks with Mrs May.
While the Head of State could not say how much will be expected to be repatriated to Kenya following the deal, he was confident that the agreement will help in the renewed fight against corruption.
Duty free quota
Further, the two countries also signed pacts to ensure that the duty free quota for Kenyan goods continue even after Britain leaves the European Union.
On her part, Prime Minister May announced that Britain will soon unveil a package for the African Mission in Somalia (Amisom), the peace keeping team that comprises of Kenyan soldiers maintaining peace in the war-torn country.
In the furtherance of the fight against terrorism, Mrs May said Kenyan and British soldiers will now train jointly, with the UK PM expected to witness a joint training session in Laikipia after the briefing.
The training session will be on handling improvised devices, most of which are now being used by terrorists in the region.
“UK is the largest foreign investor in Kenya and it is our ambition to be the G7’s number one investor in Africa by 2022,” Mrs May said.
“As Britain prepares to leave the EU we are committed to smooth transition and continuity in our trading relationship.”
Kenya has a favourable balance of trade with Britain with Nairobi having exported Ksh38.55 billion ($382 million) worth of goods to the UK in 2017, the highest of the Ksh125 billion ($1.2 billion) it fetched from Europe, according to the 2018 Economic Survey.
Tea, cut roses and beans are Nairobi’s top three exports to London—with the total value of all exports having fluctuated since 2013, with the highest earnings Kenya had from the bilateral relations in the five-year period being Ksh40 billion ($397 million) in 2015.
During the same period, Nairobi imported almost a similar amount of goods valued at Ksh30 billion ($300 million) for last year alone, a drop from the Ksh49 billion ($486 million) in 2013.
“The balance of trade between Kenya and the UK is in our favour, and we want to see ways to enhance that going forward,” Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma told the Nation early this month when she announced PM May’s planned visit.
Big 4 agenda
Britain is also the largest source market for Kenya’s tourism, with 168,000 British nationals having visited the country last year—more than a third of the half a million European tourists that toured the length and breadth of Kenya in 2017.
With at least 100 British companies in Kenya, the UK has remained the country’s top overseas investor with over Ksh128 billion ($1.2 billion) of trade.
London has also helped Nairobi in tackling the refugee crisis, with Kenya being home to thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries, mainly Somalia, and South Sudan.
In their joint press conference, the two leaders vowed to deepen the relationship between the two countries post-Brexit, with Britain promising to “work with you as you take forward your Big Four agenda to transform Kenya; aligning our expertise investment and aid behind that vision.”
“Kenya is open for business for all. And we are not going out there with a begging bowl. No! We are saying that Kenya is an attractive investment destination for foreign companies to come, and get a very good dividend while creating jobs, and helping us further our development agenda,” said President Kenyatta.