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What UK premier seeks

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British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Nairobi on Thursday for a visit that is meant to cement the long-standing ties between the two countries.

The choice of the countries on her itinerary is significant, as it sends a clear message about Britain’s commitment to strengthening its historical relations.

After Nairobi, Ms May will head to South Africa and then Nigeria.

Interestingly, this is PM May’s first foray into Africa in her nearly two-year tenure that was, incidentally, launched by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.

This is an indication that having already consolidated the position at home, she now needs a charm offensive overseas to sell a post-Brexit UK.

It is, therefore, understandable that Britain will be seeking to assure its African partners that its exit from the EU will not have an adverse effect on their ties.

London wants to reassure, especially countries with which it has had a history dating back to colonialism, that they can and will still work together for mutual benefit.

The best indication that the accent in the ‘new’ UK will be on trade and economic co-operation is evident in the fact that the British leader will be accompanied by 29 business representatives.

In her discussions with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Premier May will, no doubt, want to reassure her host that Britain is capable of going it alone after Brexit as it forges new trade deals, especially with its Commonwealth partners.


Ms May’s visit comes soon after President Kenyatta’s meeting with his United States counterpart, Mr Donald Trump, in Washington, DC, where top on the agenda was also trade and investment.

And quite soon, President Kenyatta will head to China, also in pursuit of the strengthening of trade and economic partnerships.

These high-level contacts and discussions present an opportunity for Kenya to enhance trade and economic co-operation.