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Kenya High Commissioner meets SABA members ahead of senior delegation visit in 2023.

H.E Mr. Manoah Esipisu, High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya to the United Kingdom, recently visited Scotland to meet SABA members with the aim of keeping up momentum from previous agreements and engaging with new priority sectors ahead of a senior delegation mission in 2023. This visit was an important milestone as part of an ongoing partnership between SABA, SABA members and the Government of Kenya that is going from strength to strength.

Kenya is geo-strategically located at the confluence of the Great Lakes, Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean contiguity, making it a gateway to Africa’s major trading blocs such as the East African Community (EAC) and the Common MARKET for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Kenya offers one of the best investment climates in the wider East African region with limitless Trade and Investment opportunities. The visit was organised and coordinated through SABA which saw the itinerary focus on meeting with SABA members who could contribute to key sector development of the wider Kenyan economy.

The first day consisted of a visit to SABA member, City of Glasgow College, to discuss partnerships in maritime training and education, hosted by Carla Gethin and Chris Blair.

Discussion centred on pushing forward with the technical agreements, which had been delayed during Covid, around their partnership with Bandari Maritime College in Mombasa, brokered by SABA. The High Commissioner then updated on a new Ministry created for Maritime and the Blue Economy and the new management team at Bandari Maritime College. It was agreed that a visit to Scotland from the Ministry and Bandari College would be arranged in early 2023 to sign agreements and to engage in person with the wider SABA membership.

An afternoon private meeting then took place with SABA member Continulus and CEO Eoghan Colgan to discuss healthcare education partnerships with Kenyan hospitals and universities the result of which is that the Kenyan trade team will make relevant introductions across public and private sector. This was a fruitful discussion which also led to agreement on a wider healthcare sector round table with SABA members, relevant Kenyan government officials and private sector to take place early 2023.

Day two centred on a round table with SABA members to discuss barriers to trade between Scotland and Kenya. Hosted by SABA member University of Strathclyde and Dr Samuel Mwaura, lecturer of entrepreneurship at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde Business School.

SABA members in attendance included the Changeology Group, Acasta Risk, YataPay and Global Risk Alliance. They were joined by SABA board member Joyce Onuonga and Seona Shand, International Director of Scottish Chamber of Commerce to discuss cooperation in trade and investments.

Key discussion points included:

· Information on opportunities for partnerships and projects not always reaching Scotland, the High Commissioner committed to sending bi-monthly updates on projects to SABA for dissemination to members

· The Kenyan Trade team to meet individually with SABA members to discuss their product or service and make appropriate introductions

· KenInvest to visit Scotland to meet with SABA members

· High Commissioner to be made aware of any bottlenecks and to assist in clearing these where possible personally

· Senior Kenyan ministerial delegation to visit Scotland in 2023 to be arranged by SABA

The afternoon then resulted in a meeting with SABA member James Hutton Institute, hosted by Dr Jonathan Snape and Professor Lesley Torrance.

This involved presentations to the delegation on developing climate and disease resilient potatoes for the Kenyan market, genetic work to combat specific diseases and assisting smallholder farmers with detecting and preventing disease. Discussions also centred around a bottleneck holding up the importation of newly bred seed potato. The engagement allowed the High Commissioner to outlined that he will personally investigate bottleneck as well as organise a round table meeting with Kenyan stakeholders in the potato sector with JHI and wider SABA membership along with suggesting a visit to Kenya for JHI with relevant Ministries.

The day wasn’t done yet as we then headed for an evening tour and whisky tasting at SABA member Diageo, Johnny Walker Experience, Edinburgh hosted by Jessica Rouleau, Head of Africa Communications.

SABA hosted a meeting with ex-President Kenyatta of Kenya with Diageo previously, attended by many SABA members and held discussions about a similar event in 2023 with the senior ministerial delegation.

Day three then led to a meeting hosted by the University of Edinburgh to introduce the wide range of projects they have in Kenya. The meeting was hosted by Dr Darren Watt and included Prof. Liz Baggs (Deputy Head of GAAFS and lead on several GCRF projects on soil health and legume production that ran in Kenya amongst other Eastern and Southern African countries), Prof. Alan Duncan (lead of the Jameel Observatory), Prof. Appolinaire Djikeng (lead of CTLGH) as well as Prof. Geoff Simm, Director of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems.

The meeting was held at Easter Bush Campus which hosts several world leading agriculture research centres.Discussions focussed on expanding projects and forging partnerships with Kenyan institutions.

The afternoon then culminated in a trip to Edinburgh College to discuss TVET partnerships. Hosted by Neale Gardiner, at the time the college was hosting the World Skills Finals for the construction sector so this added an interesting dynamic to the venue. The meeting involved a round table with the international heads of department where agreement was made to propose a virtual round table with key stakeholders in Kenya and to look at a project to enhance employability of students and English language skills for Kenyan nurses.

The format and discussions of the trip developed several tangible outcomes for SABA members which will lead to further engagement and discussions with a range of stakeholders in Kenya.

This was the next step in a longer process with outcomes now focussing on a senior delegation visit to Scotland in 2023 to visit SABA members and hold discussions on cementing these partnerships and turning them into live projects.

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