UK PM visit part of attempt at new African trade deal

Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Kenya on Thursday – the first time a UK leader has visited in 30 years – could not come at a more difficult time for the leader of the Conservative Party.

For as with her predecessor David Cameron, whose visit to Nairobi in 2016 was cancelled at the last moment, she is beset with divisions in her own party as well as within the country over the decision to leave the European Union.

Officially the delegation of UK ministers, business people and officials are arriving, as a statement from No 10 Downing Street said to “focus on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges.”

Unofficially of course it is another attempt to reassure the British public that the UK is capable of ‘going it alone’ after Brexit and forging new trade deals with Commonwealth partners and other major economic powers like China and the United States.

Mrs May needs to show that Britain is still a relevant world power that can still cut bespoke trade deals with other countries.


The Prime Minister (above) will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations for the three-day visit which starts in South Africa today.

Also travelling are Trade Minister George Hollingbery and Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin.

In Nairobi she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.