The Kenya High Commissioner to UK H.E Lazarus Amayo Visits Scotland to Strengthen Bilateral links

The High Commissioner of Kenya to the UK His Excellency Lazarus Amayo this week from 26th to 28th June 2017 visited Scotland cities of Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh to strengthen the existing bilateral links between Kenya and the United Kingdom. The High Commissioner was accompanied by his Spouse Mrs. Nelly Amayo, First Counsellor, Consular Services, Mr. George Kabuti, the Commercial Counsellor, Mrs. Anne Kamau, Immigration Attaché, Mr. Evans Kinyanjui and First Secretary, Mr. Fredrick Kidali. During the visit, H. E. Lazarus Amayo undertook the following activities:

Day 1: 26th July 2017

  1. Paid a courtesy call on Glasgow’s Lord Provost Eva Bolander
  2. Held a meeting with Prof. Briggs, the Dean of Africa in Glasgow University followed by a meeting with Kenyan students studying at the University
  3. Held a meeting with the Kenyan Diaspora in Glasgow

Day 2: 27th July 2017

  1. Paid a Courtesy call on Aberdeen’s Lord Provost Mr. Barney Crockett
  2. Held a Round Table discussion with Key Business leaders in Scotland interested in investing in Kenya on the prevailing investment environment in the Country.
  3. Attended a Luncheon hosted by Mr. Ian Ross, Head of East Africa for Scottish Development International
  4. Held a meeting with Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce
  5. Held a Round Table discussion with the Aberdeen University Administrators led by the Vice Principal Prof. John Paterson on training and education especially on oil and Gas Industry followed by a meeting with Kenyan Students studying at the University.
  6. Held a meeting with the Kenyan Diaspora in Aberdeen

Day 3: 28th July 2017

  1.   Paid a Courtesy call on the Edinburgh’s Deputy Lord Provost Ms. Bailie Cameron
  2. Undertook a tour of the Scottish Parliament
  3.   Held a meeting with Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
  4.   Met with the Kenyan Diaspora in Edinburgh

The High Commissioner received a warm reception from the Civic leaders in the three cities. They appreciated the warm and cordial relations that exist between Kenya and the UK and agreed to work together in exploring avenues of cooperation in order to deepen the bilateral links between Kenya and Scotland. Amb. Amayo noted that Kenya is keen to learn and borrow from Scotland especially in Kenya’s emerging sectors in which Scotland has rich experience such as oil and Gas.

Photo Gallery 1: Meeting with Glasgow’s  Lord Provost Eva Bolander

Photo Gallery 2: Meeting with Aberdeen’s Lord Provost Mr. Barney Crockett

Photo Gallery 3: Meeting with Edinburgh’s Deputy Lord Provost Ms. Bailie Cameron

During the roundtable discussion with the business community at the Scottish Enterprise, the High Commissioner reiterated that Kenya is keen to enhance its bilateral relations with Scotland and to increase the existing economic engagements.  He welcomed the opportunity to engage & exchange views on ways of enhancing the co-operation between the two countries. Some of the Companies that participated in the discussions included: Geolink Ltd., Explosion Protection International Training Ltd., xlgroup Ltd., and COREX Ltd (world leaders in formation Damage analysis) among others.

Amb. Amayo informed that Kenya had experienced a relatively conducive environment for growth in 2016 leading to a GDP expansion of 5.8 percent in 2016 and an expected growth of 5.9 % in 2017. He assured that the Government is committed to keeping the economy open to all investors noting that the favorable investment environment was achieved through ensuring a stable monetary, fiscal and legal environment, liberalized capital account and a floating exchange rate, among others things.

“ Our ranking has improved from 136 to 92 in the World Bank ease of doing business report largely due to reforms in getting credit, electricity, and ease of starting a business. In 2016, Kenya was ranked third out of the World’s top ten reformers occasioned by improvement in six key areas which include simplifying procedures of starting a business and registering property; digitization of property registration; accessing credit; electricity connectivity and reduction in regulatory complexity.  The government has also enacted various Bills aimed at improving the business environment in Kenya. These include The Companies Act, the Insolvency Act and the Special Economic Zones Act, the Business Registration Service, the Companies, and Insolvency Legislation (Consequential Amendments) Act 2015 and Finance Act amendments 2015” he said

The Head of Mission informed that investing in Kenya would enable access to the huge market in the sub-region due to Kenya’s Strategic location and its membership to multilateral and bilateral trade agreements as part of its trade policy. He added that Kenya is a signatory to large and growing number of tax treaties and investment promotion and protection Agreements; has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system; conducted extensive business regulatory reforms; pride itself in its large pool of highly educated, skilled and sought after workforce; has enhanced its social and physical infrastructure; has fully Liberalized Economy;  and has a well established & vocal Private Sector which is touted as one of the most resilient in the world.

The High Commissioner conclude by reiterating that the low-risk investment environment, improved infrastructure, reduced cost of energy and improving energy availability as well as vibrant capital markets makes Kenya a favorable destination for their investments the good relations between Kenya and the UK.

The participants expressed their interest to invest in Kenya and to extend support to the Government in its development agenda particularly in the oil and gas sector. They appreciated the enhanced security in the country and the reforms the Government had undertaken to ensure a conducive investment climate.

Photo Gallery 4: Round Table Discussion with Key Business leaders in Scotland 

The Head of Mission also held fruitful discussions with both Aberdeen and Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce where they explored different areas of cooperation with the aim of deepening business links between Kenya and Scotland.

Photo Gallery 5: Meeting with  Aberdeen and Edinburgh Chambers of Commerce  

While meeting the Kenya Diaspora in the three cities, the High Commissioner highlighted some of the achievements of Government and called upon the Kenya Diaspora to assist in promoting Kenya as a favored destination of choice for tourists and investors noting that they are Kenya’s first line ambassadors in the UK. Some of the achievements he enumerated included the development of essential infrastructure to support manufacturing and industrialization, transforming agriculture, improving the business environment, provision of enhanced social services, and development of rural areas through devolution.

Amb Amayo reiterated that the Government values and treasures the Diaspora contribution to national development. He said that apart from the economic capital provided by the Diaspora through remittance, they possess a wealth of experience and know-how in every possible discipline of business and enterprise that needs to be harnessed for the country’s development.

“The Kenya Government has created the Diaspora department and developed the Diaspora policy which seeks to formalize and enhance engagement with the Diaspora for national development,” he said.

Ambassador Amayo further encouraged the formation of a Diaspora umbrella body to facilitate structured engagement with the Government and urged the diaspora to make use of the High Commission in seeking services which the Mission offers such as application to regain Kenyan Citizenship for those who acquired citizenship of other countries before 27th August 2010; issuance of Kenya National Identity cards to eligible Kenyans, issuance and renewal of passports among other services. The Kenyan Diaspora thanked the Kenyan delegation for the visit and called for more representation in Scotland.

Photo Gallery 6: Meeting with Kenya Diaspora in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Glasgow 

During the Round Table discussion with the Aberdeen University Administrators and the meeting with Prof. Briggs, the Dean of Africa in Glasgow University, they deliberated on possible diverse areas of cooperation between Kenya and these institutions in the strengthening of existing education links and technology transfer.

Photo Gallery 7: Meeting with Glasgow and  Aberdeen University Administrators  

While speaking to Kenyan Students, the High Commissioner requested them to make use of the opportunity granted to study in the UK  to gain necessary skills that could be used in Kenya’s economic transformation. He urged them to use their social and academic connections to promote Kenya.

Photo Gallery 8: Meeting with Kenyan Students in Aberdeen and Glasgow University