British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is in Kenya for trade and security talks in what is seen as preparation for post Brexit relations with African countries. Hunt told a joint press briefing with Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs, Dr Monica Juma, that Britain said its relationship with Kenya would be more focused on trade rather than aid.
Hunt played down suggestions that Britain, like other Western countries, is in a rush to counter China’s increased economic influence in Africa. However, he admitted that China’s role in the continent’s infrastructural development cannot be ignored.
“I don’t see this catch up with China, I think China is making a very very important contribution to Africa’s development and you can see that in Kenya with the new rail line to Mombasa and all over in Africa. What we bring in the UK is a commitment to democratic institutions which in the end are the best way for stability.”
Dr Juma says that UK leadership has reassured them that trade relations between the two countries remains.
“And we agreed on how to improve that value, but more significantly; the leadership in UK has repeatedly assured us that the relationship as far as our trade is concerned, remains and will continue to be so.”
Hunt promised to continue supporting the East African region in its peace and security efforts.
“We see Kenya as a force for stability in a corner of Africa with some very pronounced and long standing problems and we had a very good discussion on Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia.”
Dr Juma reiterated Kenya’s condemnation of the abduction of two Cuban doctors who worked in Mandera County on Kenya’s border with Somalia.
“Even during war, medical personnel are never a subject of abduction because of the services they render to humanity. So we are abhorred by the action of the abductors.”
The UK is the largest European foreign investor in Kenya with investments worth $2 billion in the East African nation.