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New British High Commissioner excited to explore magical Kenya

British High Commissioner-designate, Neil Wigan OBE, has arrived in Nairobi to take up his position as Head of Mission at the British High Commission.

Speaking on his arrival, the new British High Commissioner to Kenya, said:

It has been a long-term ambition of mine to lead the team at the British High Commission in Nairobi. I first visited Kenya in 1977, my children went to school in Nairobi, and I have visited Kenya many times, for work and pleasure. I am delighted to have returned, and am looking forward to exploring magical Kenya.

I look forward to working with the Government of Kenya on the priorities of our Strategic Partnership, particularly the KES 500 billion of UK investment in clean, green infrastructure projects including Nairobi Railway City, Menengai Geothermal Plant, Grand High Falls Dam and the Malindi Solar Expansion project. These projects, among others, will improve the lives of Kenyans, boost sustainable development and help tackle climate change. I look forward to seeing these projects and other UK-Kenya partnerships for myself.

Across the partnership, there are further opportunities for us to go far, together. Tafaulu Pamoja!

Neil takes up his post at an exciting time for UK-Kenya relations, with the relationship between both countries and peoples going from strength to strength.

Rapid progress is being made across all pillars of the Strategic Partnership, signed in 2020 between the UK and Kenya – tackling climate change, increasing mutual prosperity and sustainable development, building stronger people to people links, and strengthening vital security cooperation.

The UK is working with the Kenyan Government to improve lives and livelihoods, while our defence partnership ensures the safety and security of our two peoples and promotes Kenya’s role as a stabilising force in the region.

The UK and Kenya share a deep and complex history; one that has created strong bonds between our countries, governments and people. Our people to people bonds are the foundation of our relationship. This year we celebrate 40 years of Chevening, our scholarship programme, which has enabled more than 600 Kenyans to study at UK universities. Through the British Council, we have strengthened Kenya’s creative and cultural industries and the UK-Kenya Tech Hub is working with entrepreneurs and tech talent to build a sustainable digital ecosystem.

The UK is the largest international investor in Kenya and is Kenya’s fifth largest export market. Progress on key green infrastructure projects, backed by UK investment, is securing Kenya’s place as a climate leader in the region. The upcoming Africa Climate Summit and next year’s UK-African Investment Summit will provide further opportunities to strengthen our vital partnership to the benefit of both Kenyans and British people.

Notes to Editors

  • Neil tweets @FCDONeilWigan

  • You can follow UK activity in Kenya on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @UKinKenya

  • Neil arrives in Kenya after serving as British Ambassador to Israel (June 2019 to June 2023). He previously served as British Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (March 2010 to March 2013) British Ambassador to Somalia (June 2013 to July 2015), and Director for Africa at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (November 2015 to September 2018).

  • The Country Development Partnership Summary for Kenya can be found here.

  • At COP27, President Ruto and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed to expedite KES 500 billion of British investment to progress green infrastructure projects – read more here.

  • The UK is providing training to the Kenyan Defence Forces, working with our Kenyan partners to design new and innovative training programmes, including to support counter-insurgency efforts. This year saw the first Kenyan Marine Commando Unit ready for action after training with British Marines.

  • The UK is amongst Kenya’s top ten bilateral development partners, providing £72 million of bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) and £91 million to multilateral spend in Kenya in 2021 across all pillars of the strategic partnership. UK ODA funding supports the provision of healthcare and education to some of Kenya’s most vulnerable as well as supporting victims of gender-based violence.

For more information please contact:

Georgina Woodhouse-Hills, Head of Communications, British High Commission Nairobi: [email protected], Mobile: +254 (0)114 878 117

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