UK to send Kenya 817,000 COVID vaccines as Prime Minister Johnson meets President Kenyatta

UK to send Kenya 817,000 COVID vaccines as Prime Minister Johnson meets President Kenyatta

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta to his country residence for talks later today (28 July) – as the UK announces it will send 817,000 COVID-19 vaccines in the other direction to boost Kenya’s vaccination programme.

The two leaders will toast the huge strides made in the last 18 months on the Kenya-UK Strategic Partnership, just as the UK reinforced its support on COVID-19 with the vaccine donation. The Oxford-AstraZeneca doses – half through a direct bilateral donation, and half through a UK donation to the COVAX facility – will be shipped from the UK to Kenya as soon as possible in the coming days.

Since they agreed the Strategic Partnership in Downing Street the last time President Kenyatta visited in London in January 2020, Kenya and the UK have strengthened cooperation in all areas. In their meeting, they are expected to welcome the new five-year Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) agreed during this visit, yesterday’s launch of the Nairobi International Finance Centre, and new deals on affordable housing and infrastructure.

The two will take a long walk around the grounds of Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence in Buckinghamshire, planting a tree to mark the Kenya-UK Year of Climate Action.

Then Tomorrow, the Prime Minister and President will co-chair the Global Education Summit, to raise $5 billion (KES 540 billion) for educating the world’s poorest in the next five years.

Speaking before their bilateral talks, President Uhuru Kenyatta said:

“This visit has presented a unique opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to the long-standing bilateral relations between Kenya and the UK, that are founded on shared values and similar aspirations of enhanced cooperation for sustained socio-economic prosperity for our two peoples.”

Speaking ahead of today’s meeting, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

The UK and Kenya share a long and rich history, but this is a relationship that is focused on the future.

As friends and allies, we are sharing UK vaccine doses to support Kenya’s fight against the pandemic. From boosting economic growth to addressing climate change and getting girls into school, the UK and Kenya are working hand-in-hand to deliver a more secure and prosperous world.

I look forward to welcoming President Kenyatta today to drive that agenda forward, and to joining forces tomorrow to raise vital funds at the Global Education Summit in London.

The two leaders are expected to praise the tremendous progress across all the five pillars of our Strategic Partnership since it was agreed 18 months ago.

  • Mutual Prosperity: A new Economic Partnership Agreement was ratified in May of this year, to boost trade worth already KES 200 billion a year. Through CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, the UK has invested KES 30 billion in 72 Kenyan companies which support 28,204 jobs in Kenya.
  • Security and Stability: The new Defence Cooperation Agreement ensures our continued joint fight against Al-Shabaab, and close cooperation between our militaries on land, sea and air. Together we are tackling shared threats including violent extremism and terrorism.
  • Sustainable Development: In addition to co-chairing the Global Education Summit, Kenya and the UK have had an extremely strong partnership on COVID-19. We also announced a donation of 817,000 COVID-19 vaccines to support Kenya’s vaccination effort, in addition to support on genomic sequencing, and joint work between Kenyan and UK scientists to trial the AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • Climate change: A Kenya-UK Year of Climate Action has driven Kenyan leadership in the region, along with a joint action plan on tackling climate change. UK expertise has supported the development of both green finance and green manufacturing in Kenya. The UK Space Agency has developed satellite monitoring of Kenyan forests, which is being rolled out across the country.
  • People to People: Links between our universities and research institutions continue to grow, along with new visa routes open to Kenyans who want to work and study in the UK.

Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, said:

Eighteen months on from their last meeting in Downing Street, our two leaders have a huge amount to celebrate across all areas of our Strategic Partnership, including how we have tackled the immense challenges of COVID-19 together. From trade, to security, development, and climate change, our partnership and cooperation is richer than ever, to both our countries benefit. I’m excited to continue expanding that in the years ahead: the sky is the limit what our two countries can do together!

Manoah Esipisu, the Kenyan High Commissioner to the UK, said:

Discussions today are an important step in reviewing progress after the President’s last visit 18 months ago and how we can move together in combating challenges exacerbated by Covid-19. Our main principle is mutual respect, mutual prosperity. Win-win.

In their talks at Chequers, the Prime Minister and the President are also expected to discuss our collective leadership through the Commonwealth, plans for the Global Education Summit this week, as well as regional security and the situation in Ethiopia, with both Kenya joining the UK on the UN Security Council in 2021-22.