Joint statement following meeting of the UK-Kenya Economic Development Forum

The UK-Kenya Economic Development Forum, a government-to-government mechanism agreed by UK Prime Minister May and HE President Kenyatta on 30 August 2018, met on 3 May 2019.

Jeremy Hunt in Kenya
Jeremy Hunt joins Nic Hailey, Emma Wade-Smith, Dr Chris Kiptoo and Monica Juma at the UK-Kenya Economic Development Forum. Photo: Twitter/Diplomacy_Kenya

The UK-Kenya Economic Development Forum statement on next steps for long-term and wide-ranging prosperity partnership:

The UK and Kenya enjoy a strong and multi-faceted economic relationship, embedded within a mature bilateral partnership that draws from our shared values, systems, challenges and aspirations. We commit to the measures set out below as next steps in a long-term and wide-ranging prosperity partnership.

The Forum agreed to collaborate to achieve a successful Africa Investment Summit in the United Kingdom in 2020 and use the opportunity to present a strong pipeline of investable projects in Kenya that seek partnership with British investors particularly to support initiatives around the Kenyan government’s “Big Four” priorities.

The Forum also welcomed the commitment made by the UK Prime Minister to maintain Kenya’s duty and quota free access to the UK after the UK departs the European Union. Once the terms of the UK’s departure are finalised, the UK will engage with Kenya and the wider East Africa Community to secure a long term and prosperous trading agreement.

The Forum noted Kenya’s continued upward trajectory in World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index and commits to addressing ongoing challenges for businesses operating in Kenya both at national and county level.

As directed by HE President Kenyatta and Prime Minister May the Forum discussed the following areas in detail:

  • Mobilising Private Sector Finance: the Forum welcomed the commitment today between our governments to reach an agreement on creative new models for project financing, mobilising private investment along with government-backed instruments and programmes to provide lower cost, more flexible financing, better suited to Kenya’s needs and more attractive to a wider range of investors.
  • Procurement: both delegations agreed on the importance of ensuring that procurement legislation works to encourage international investment in manufacturing in Kenya.
  • Land: both delegations recognised the importance of security of land tenure as a basis for a sound investment environment, and of the importance of all actors respecting the rule of law and clearly-established policies on leases and their renewal within that context.
  • Interest rates: the Forum recognised the negative impact of Kenya’s current interest rate cap on the availability of credit to businesses, which impacts on wider economic growth, and noted the Kenyan government commitment to working with Parliament towards a lifting of the cap in a way which protects consumers, and meanwhile identifying mitigating actions whilst the cap remains in place.
  • Development partner coordination: the UK reiterated its desire to align its development programme with the government of Kenya’s “Big 4” agenda and both parties agreed the importance of effective and structured development coordination between partners.

In closing, the Forum reaffirmed commitment from both the Kenyan and British governments to meet in this format regularly, to explore innovative ways to strengthen our trading relationship, increase the quantity and impact of economic investment, and develop quality jobs that will underpin sustainable and inclusive economic growth and drive prosperity.

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