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November 14, 2018

Uhuru meets British PM Theresa May, seeks lifting of miraa ban

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /REUTERS
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /REUTERS

President Uhuru Kenyatta pushed for a post-Brexit deal with the UK in his first meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday.

Uhuru sought a pact to guarantee Kenyan exports on a duty-free quota-free basis after the country exits from the European Union.

“It is Kenya’s desire to continue having seamless trade relations during and after Brexit. We wish to continue accessing the UK market duty-free and quota-free after the UK exits the EU,” he said.

Read: Brexit will affect Kenya as UK is key foreign investor

At a meeting at Number 10 Downing Street, Uhuru spoke strongly about strengthening bilateral relations with Britain.

 	Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /PSCU

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /PSCU

Uhuru’s agenda is about ensuring a conducive environment so businesses can thrive to provide much-needed jobs and deepen security in Kenya and the region. These will in turn foster growth and inclusive prosperity.

The two leaders agreed to create a working group to examine a new framework for bilateral and economic relations. The aim is to ensure predictability and continuation of existing market conditions after Brexit.

They also discussed Kenya’s counter-terrorism programme in the context of deepening the security architecture for the country and the region. May committed support for the programme.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May meets President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /REUTERS

Uhuru also pressed for the re-establishment of a UK visa processing centre in Nairobi, to serve as a regional office for Eastern and Central Africa. UK visas for the region are currently processed in the South African capital, Pretoria.

The President praised May for lifting the travel advisories that adversely affected Lamu and Manda islands, saying this will significantly increase the umber of tourists arriving from the UK.

He reassured her that the government had taken extensive measures to bolster security in the area.

On miraa, Uhuru asked the Prime Minister to extend technical cooperation and financial assistance to growing areas.

This, he said, will enable diversification and minimise negative effects of the export ban to the UK imposed three years ago.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and President Uhuru Kenyatta in Downing street ahead of the Somalia Conference, in London, Britain May 11, 2017. /PSCU

The President also thanked Britain for continued development aid through its Department for International Development.

The president travelled to the United Kingdom to attend the 3rd London Conference on Somalia. The conference will focus on accelerating the progress of security reforms in Somalia and build on international response to the ongoing drought and humanitarian crisis.

More on this: Africa's famine is mostly man-made

Also read: Hungry Somalis weigh a daughter's freedom against her siblings' lives

On Thursday, Uhuru will separately meet British investors in East Africa, representatives of Kenya’s large UK diaspora.

Uhuru will also meet Prince William at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

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