The 6th Annual Face of Kenya UK was held on 7th July 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury, Coram Street, London where Mr. Richie Gathu, was crowned the 2018 Face of Kenya UK Ambassador. Organised by the Face of Kenya UK chapter, this year’s event brought together 5 Face of Kenya UK ambassadors. The event was attended by a broad spectrum of Kenyans and friends of Kenya in the UK and had an array of Kenyan cultural showcase including music, dance, fashion and talent shows. The High Commission was represented by Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Allan Mburu, Mrs. Anne Kamau, the Commercial Counsellor, Mr. Fredrick Kidali, First Secretary, Ms. Rebecca Toto, the Immigration Attache and Mrs. Mary Chuma, the Administrative Attaché.

The 2018 Winner Mr. Richie Gathu, is a Law graduate born in Nairobi but bred in Bristol. His charity of choice is Macheo Children’s Centre. The charity serves children in need, those in vulnerable positions and those without families. Through education, health, sheltering and protecting, caring for them and their psychological wellbeing, Macheo aims to give the children the foundation to build a brighter future (Click Here for more information about other 2018 Contestants)

The Founder and Director of Face of Kenya – Mrs. Janet Wainaina, welcomed guests and thanked them for their continued support.  She informed that Face of Kenya ambassadors are actively championing charitable acts to Kenya from abroad and mentoring young people. She called for continued support to ensure that the organization achieves its objectives. In his remarks, the Acting Deputy Head of Mission Mr. Allan Mburu thanked Ms. Wainaina, for the encouraging initiative that not only promotes talent for the youth but also fosters awareness among the Kenyan diaspora of the importance of preserving Kenya’s culture and heritage. He reiterated that the beauty pageant provides an avenue for networking as well as promoting the diverse Kenyan culture, empowering youth, enhancing community cohesion, initiating charitable activities and ensuring progressive branding of Kenya.

Mr. Mburu noted that the constant engagement with Kenyans in the Diaspora by the President and other Government officials is an indication of the Government’s commitment to the policy of integrating the Diaspora into its national development. This is in recognition of the immense potential of the Diaspora in contributing positively to the growth of the Country’s economy.

He informed that such efforts by the Government to engage the Diaspora have borne good results as exemplified by the huge Diaspora remittance which is currently estimated at Kshs. 222 billion, overtaking Tourism (KSh 119.9 billion) and horticulture (KSh 115.3 billion) to become the largest single source of foreign exchange.

The Ag Deputy Head of Mission further noted that even though the Government recognizes and values the development potential of Diaspora remittances, transaction costs for money transfer still remain high and this is a hindrance to the inflows and financial inclusion. In this regard, he informed that the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), which Kenya hosts is now fully operational. AIR is undertaking studies and exploring innovative ways to reduce transaction cost of money transfers and thus unlock the potential of increased remittances. In carrying out research, the Institute will also provide statistical data that will assist in measuring the impact of remittances on the social and economic development of the AU Member States.

He also informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched the “Send Money and Invest in Kenya”: A guide for Diaspora Remittances and Investments’ handbook which provides the information that is mostly sought for by the Diaspora on investment opportunities in Kenya as well as how the Diaspora can remit money with ease. The booklet specifically targets the Kenya Diaspora, provides very useful and detailed information on how the Kenyan Diaspora can send money through safe, affordable, and convenient channels. In addition, it gives guidance on how local savings, payments, donations, and investments can be made while abroad. This information is important to the Kenyans in the Diaspora to help them make informed investment decisions. The booklet, which is available online, also provides Kenyans in the Diaspora full access to the directory of all Kenya Missions Abroad and enables them to be familiar with the Diaspora Policy.

Further, the Ag Deputy Head of Mission informed that the Government led by H.E President Kenyatta is pushing for the Big Four agenda which include ensuring food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare, as the priority areas that his government would tackle during his second presidential term in response to the needs of Kenyans.

He noted that the UK stands out as a Key partner towards achievement and execution of the Big Four agenda and called for the diaspora’s assistance as Kenya’s first line Ambassadors. In doing so, this will intensify campaigns of cascading information about Kenya being the favored destination for investors and tourists with an aim of increasing investments into the country especially in the four sectors.

Furthermore, he said that to achieve strong and sustainable economic growth, Kenya is diversifying her sources of growth by pursuing the Blue Economy. The activities of the Blue Economy include harvesting of living resources such: as seafood and marine biotechnology, extraction of non-living resources and generation of new resources (energy and freshwater). He informed that H.E the President will host the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi from 26th to 28th November 2018, at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC), and encouraged all Kenyans in the Diaspora to invest in these areas and be part of the economic development of our great nation.

With regards to cultural diplomacy, he said that it is one of the five interlinked pillars of Kenya’s foreign policy and aims at using culture as a vital ingredient in Kenya’s international relations especially through the use of cultural heritage and endowments as the pedestals of its foreign engagement.

He noted that the colorful beauty pageant will enable the contestants to showcase the diverse cultures inherent in the Kenyan society and it is also an opportunity for the Diaspora to appreciate Kenya’s rich cultural heritage.

“Face of Kenya UK is at the forefront in bringing Kenyans together as well as promoting our amazing diversity and I would like to reiterate that the Kenya High Commission recognizes the effort you are making in ensuring that Kenya’s national interest in the UK is advanced.” “ It is against this backdrop that I feel humbled and proud to be associated with the organizers and other Kenyans with similar objectives.” “I, therefore, wish to reassure you that the High Commission will continue working with the Diaspora towards making Kenya a much better place for us and generations to come” he noted.

He also informed that the High Commission provides various consular services key among them being to facilitate applications for passports; IDs; regaining of Kenya citizenship; Declaration of dual citizenship; facilitate the issuance of birth certificates and duplicate marriage certificates; as well as Authenticate and attest official government-issued documents among other consular services.

With regards to dual nationality, he noted that the 2010 constitution of Kenya provides that a citizen by birth does not lose citizenship by acquiring the citizenship of any other country. Therefore, the Kenyan law allows/recognizes dual citizenship.

He informed that the declaration of dual citizenship is done by;

  • Those who acquired citizenship of another country after 27th August 2010
  • Those who were 22 years and below on 27th August 2010
  • Those who have regained Kenya citizenship

On the other hand, regaining Kenya citizenship is done by a person who was a citizen of Kenya by birth and who ceased to be a citizen of Kenya because he or she acquired the citizenship of another country before 27th August 2010.

Mr. Mburu also called upon the Kenyan Diaspora in the UK to register with the High Commission noting that it is important for the Government to have information of its citizens abroad for effective engagement and communication. This will enable the Mission to provide essential services in an efficient manner, especially in emergency situations.

He concluded by informing that all Kenyan citizens, including those in the Diaspora, are required by law to file tax returns by June 30th every year. “Failure to file returns before the June 30th deadline attracts a fine of KSh20,000 under the Tax Procedures Act number 29 of 2015. Those with no income in Kenya are not exempt from filing, and should instead file a “Nil Return” which indicates they have not earned any income in Kenya for that particular year” he said.  He further added that in cases where there is double taxation for those who are in the diaspora, they will be given a refund of the taxes paid abroad. And with regards to the diaspora in the United Kingdom, Kenya informed that Kenya has signed a double tax avoidance agreement with the UK. As such, while filing returns, you can claim relief for that tax under the treaty for the income that has been taxed in the UK as such double taxation will not arise.