Cementing UK’s Strong Partnership with Rift Valley
In an effort to fortify the robust ties between the United Kingdom and Kenya’s Rift Valley Region, Neil Wigan, the High Commissioner to Kenya, embarked on his maiden journey to the counties of Bomet, Kericho, Kisumu, Uasin Gishu, and Nandi on October 3 and 4, 2023.
This visit aims to build upon the enduring cultural, economic, and security bonds that have connected the UK and the Rift Valley while seeking avenues for mutual prosperity.
Nurturing County Partnerships
During his visit, High Commissioner Wigan engaged in discussions with prominent figures in the region, including Prof. Hillary Barchok and Dr. Erick Mutai, the Governors of Bomet and Kericho, respectively.
These conversations illuminated the challenges faced by these communities, including issues surrounding sexual and gender-based violence. Moreover, they explored opportunities to deepen the partnership, particularly in trade and investment.
Fuelling Economic Growth in Elgeyo Marakwet
High Commissioner Wigan also conferred with H.E Wisley Rotich, the Governor of Elgeyo Marakwet, regarding the UK’s Sustainable Urban Economic Development (SUED) program.
This substantial five-year initiative, worth nearly 13 billion KES (£70 million), is actively identifying critical investment prospects across 12 Kenyan counties, with the aim of bolstering economic growth and job creation.
Fostering Cultural Ties in Nandi County
In Nandi County, the High Commissioner held discussions with H.E. Stephen Sang, the Nandi County Governor and chair of the North Rift Economic Block (NOREB). The UK’s support for NOREB is catalyzing economic expansion in the region.
Their deliberations encompassed strategies to deepen cultural connections between British and Kenyan communities, and High Commissioner Wigan also got an insight into the rapid digitalization of service provision in the area.
Embracing Historical Dialogue
During his regional tour, the High Commissioner met with representatives of the Borowo, Kipsigis, Koitalel, and Talai clans, as well as the Nandi Council of Elders. These interactions allowed him to hear firsthand accounts of the experiences of these communities during the era of British colonial rule, reaffirming his commitment to fostering open and sincere dialogues.
A Pledge for the Future
Concluding his visit, High Commissioner Neil Wigan expressed his observations, stating,
“From my visit to the Rift Valley, it is clear that the UK-Kenya partnership stretches far beyond the capital city. UK programming, engagement, and private sector investment in Bomet, Kericho, Nandi, and the region are improving lives and livelihoods in partnership with county governors.
With further planned programs and investments on the horizon, I’m already looking forward to my next visit to Rift Valley and to exploring other parts of this great country.”
In his visit to the Rift Valley Region, High Commissioner Neil Wigan underscores the deepening relationship between the UK and Kenya’s heartland, with a focus on mutual prosperity and cultural exchange.