Kenya inks Brexit free trade deal with May

Kenya has secured a deal to export agricultural products to Britain after it leaves the European Union.

Visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday on a visit to Nairobi that her government looks forward to increased trade with non-EU nations as a Brexit selling point.

Ms May was speaking on the third stop of a trip to Africa during which, she said, she wants Britain to become the biggest investor on the continent out of the world’s richest nations.

“As Britain prepares to leave the European Union we are committed to a smooth transition that ensures continuity in our trading relationship with Kenya, ensuring Kenya retains its duty free quota access to the UK market,” Ms May said.

This will benefit the agriculture sector, which is Kenya’s biggest foreign exchange earner and a big source of jobs.

The duty free exports will benefit flower, tea, vegetable, and coffee farmers as well as agriculture sector dealers.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, speaking alongside Ms May at a news conference, said he welcomed her assurance that Kenyan duty free exports would continue after Brexit, adding that Kenya will be pressing for an increase in exports.

British companies are also keen on promoting trade opportunities outside the EU after Brexit.

“Kenya is looking forward to doing business with UK businesses that will enhance economic benefits for the two countries,” said President Uhuru.

Kenya imported goods worth Sh30 billion from the UK and exported products worth Sh38.5 billion to the country.

Margaret Thatcher was the last British prime minister to visit Kenya in 1988.