Kenya and the UK established diplomatic relations soon after independence in 1963 with representation in Nairobi and London respectively. H.E. Mr. Lazarus O. Amayo is the current Kenya High Commissioner to the United Kingdom while H.E. Nic Hailey is the British High Commissioner to Kenya.
Kenya and the UK have good working relations in international fora as exemplified by the latter’s support of UN Resolution 2036 in New York, giving the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) extra troops, including the support for Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to join AMISOM. The two countries also enjoy extensive bilateral relations in areas covering trade, investments, tourism, and cooperation in areas of defence and security, anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, climate change, among others.
Trade and Investment
The UK is the largest European foreign investor in Kenya. Currently, there are about 100 British investment companies based in Kenya, valued at more than STG £2.0 billion. Significant British investors include Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, GlaxoSmithKline, ACTIS (formerly CDC Capital Partners), De La Rue and Unilever.
The UK is Kenya’s second most important export destination. Kenya mainly exports tea, coffee and horticultural products, with the country accounting for 27% of the fresh produce and 56% of the black tea market in the UK. On the other hand, motor vehicles, printed materials, machinery and chemicals form the bulk of imports from the United Kingdom.
In 2013, exports from Kenya amounted to KShs. 37.61 billion, while imports amounted to KShs. 49.02 billion, with the balance of trade in favour of the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom is the 6th major tourist destination in the world and currently, the largest source market for Kenya’s tourism.
Kenya and the UK enjoy long-standing historical ties with close cooperation in key sectors of education, trade and investment. Some of UK’s major investments are in the financial services, telecommunications, chemicals, agricultural and manufacturing sectors.
The UK Government, through the Department for International Development (DFID) supports Kenya’s development priorities set out in the Government of Kenya’s Vision 20302 , which aspires to promote political and macroeconomic stability, sustained economic growth and social development, underpinned by rapidly expanding infrastructure.
DFID’s work is a core part of the overall UK Government strategy for Kenya, which includes engagement on a range of development, stimulating inclusive growth, led by the private sector, improving service delivery, and innovative approaches to private-sector provision of basic services.
The United Kingdom and the Royal family in particular have taken a keen interest, supporting wildlife conservation in Kenya through several charities such as Tusk which has HRH the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) charity’s royal patron, and the Duke of Edinburgh International Awards Trust, which is involved in among other things, environmental conservation, and has its regional office for Africa in Nairobi.
There are approximately 250,000 British nationals who are permanent residents in Kenya, and over 200,000 Kenyans living in the United Kingdom.