Thank you, Mr President, for hosting me today, and for your very warm welcome to Nairobi. I’m delighted to be paying my first visit to Kenya — and indeed the first by a British Prime Minister in 30 years.
Kenya holds a special place in the hearts of the British people and our countries share, as you have said, a long history that has left us deeply connected to one another.
Indeed, it was here that our monarch learned she would become Queen. But the relationship we hold is about much more than those deep historical ties.
And we have agreed to build on the strong foundations of our relationship as we step up our cooperation to secure the prosperity and security that our people need and deserve. We discussed today how the UK can work with you as you take forward your Big 4 agenda to transform Kenya – aligning our expertise, our investment and our aid behind that vision.
The UK is already the largest foreign investor in Kenya and I have set out this week our ambition to be the G7’s number one investor in Africa by 2022.
So as Britain prepares to leave the European Union we are committed to a smooth transition that ensures continuity in our trading relationship with Kenya, ensuring Kenya retains its duty-free, quota-free access to the UK market.
Mr President, yours is a country of huge opportunity, in a continent of dynamic young people who have the potential to play a transformative role in driving Africa’s growth. The UK is no longer just training our own military in Kenya, but training with Kenyans to promote stability in East Africa and beyond and to build the continent’s capacity to deliver its own security.
Later today I will see our militaries training together in the techniques to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices. The UK continues to support the commitment of the brave Kenyan soldiers fighting in Somalia against al Shabaab. And I will announce a new package of funding to support the African Union mission in Somalia.
Mr President, I was glad to hear you call for a transition from peacekeepers to stronger Somali security forces. This is what the UK wants too, and as we work towards this we are leading international efforts to ensure AMISOM has the funding it needs to support its vital battle against terror.
We also spoke about the pernicious effects of corruption in Kenya. And I welcome the commitment you have made to drive this vice from your country, and we stand with you in this fight.
And today, as you’ve said, we signed an agreement to ensure that any proceeds of corruption in Kenya that end up in the UK will be given back to the Kenyan people.
I also welcome, Mr President, your commitment to political reconciliation in this country. The UK stands ready to support an inclusive Building Bridges process as you work to further strengthen your democracy and your institutions.
I want to ensure that the UK’s relationship with Kenya and with Africa is more and more about private investment making the most of commercial opportunities together.
The UK and Kenya are two strong, diverse countries. We are partners in the Commonwealth, and global hubs – open to the world.
Mr President, I will leave Nairobi excited by the huge opportunities of Kenya and look forward to working with you in the years ahead for the benefit of both our countries. – Abridged version of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech in Nairobi yesterday.