UK looks to development ties rather than aid in new pact with Kenya

UK looks to development ties rather than aid in new pact with Kenya

The United Kingdom is reviewing its aid agreements with developing countries such as Kenya, in an effort of ensuring funds are well utilized.

UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel, who is in Kenya as part of an Africa tour, said on Tuesday that aid money will have to facilitate trade and development.

Patel says in the wake of Britain’s decision to exit the European Union, there is need to ensure aid money is used to open up business opportunities rather than focus on non profit making ventures.

“If we are to lift people out of poverty the only way we can do that is through economic development. I think the days of the conventional aid we have to move on from that and by that I mean we have to make sure that economic development and prosperity are at the heart of the development agenda,” Ms Patel said.

The UK’s department of International Development has a £12 billion (Sh1.4 trillion) budget which is mostly channeled through the Department for International Development (DfID).

Ms Patel says the United Kingdom has strong trade ties with Kenya with a new structured trade pact under development following Brexit.

“We will be working with our strategic partners to deliver economic development and prosperity opportunities both ways, yes for a wonderful country such as Kenya which has close ties but also for the United Kingdom as well,” she stressed.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich had in August said it was still too early to negotiate new deals with either the European Union or Britain until the full effects of Brexit became clear.

The United Kingdom has remained a strong trading nation with Kenya since the early 1960’s with over 150 British firms operating in the country.

Key exports to the UK include tea, coffee and flowers.

DFID has also been a key supporter of development projects in Kenya especially in education.

Recently, through private sector lending arm CDC Group, DfID has also been investing in real estate most notable the garden city mall.