The UK Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, has been in Kenya this week where he witnessed first-hand the UK and Kenya’s close military cooperation.
After landing in Nairobi for his first visit to Africa, he was taken to the British Peace Support Team (Africa) at the International Peace Support Training Centre (TPSTC) in Karen.
Britain funds around 30% of the training courses that run at the International Peace Support Training Centre, which range from IED disposal to promoting females in peacekeeping roles.
While there, he attended the official opening of a Security Sector Reform and Gender Advisers’ course which trains regional security force personnel. The course emphasises the importance of preventing gender-based violence and sexual exploitation in conflict zones and is aimed not just at military personnel but those from other government departments and organisations involved in Security Sector Reform as well.
Mr Williamson then flew north to Nanyuki, where the British Army conducts battlegroup exercises across 79,000 hectares. There had been concerns that licencing agreements to continue conducting exercises in the country would not be renewed.
However, following a meeting with his counterpart, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, alongside UK High Commissioner Nic Hailey, he could confirm that licences were being renewed following the ratification of the 2016 UK/Kenya Defence Co-operation Agreement.UK/Kenya: Agreement concerning Defence Cooperation
Also among the topics with Ambassador Omamo were a range of regional security-related issues including Somalia and South Sudan. The talks also covered the significant and growing defence relationship between the UK and Kenya.
The Defence Secretary rounded off his Kenyan visit by travelling by helicopter to the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) base.
Speaking at the end of his visit the Secretary of State said, “I have witnessed some of the incredible work our military is doing to help make our vision of a secure and united continent a reality, and we will not let up in our efforts to achieve this. The huge potential offered by trading partnerships across Africa for British businesses, means that together we can create opportunities for everyone.”
Following his time in Kenya, Mr Williamson will be visiting neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia.