Raila, UK envoy Jane Marriott discuss BBI, trade relations

ODM leader Raila Odinga and new UK High Commissioner Jane Marriott on Monday discussed ongoing constitutional reforms debate and the Building Bridges Initiative.

Raila and Marriott also discussed trade relations between Kenya and the United Kingdom.

@RailaOdinga this morning held talks with British High Commissioner to Kenya @JaneMarriottFCO on the current debate on constitutional reforms, progress at the Building Bridges Initiative and trade relations between Kenya and U.K. in the context of WTO and EAC dynamics,” Nasa coalition said in a tweet.

High Commissioner Marriott said she had “good discussions” with Raila.


The talks on BBI come at a time when the handshake committee formed by Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to be proposing constitutional changes but not a referendum. This will be a blow to Raila and the opposition, who were sitting pretty expecting one on recommendations by the BBI team.

According to the Star, the 14-man task force will instead make recommendations on the strengthening of various laws, including constitutional changes in Parliament without taking Kenya to a plebiscite.

The opposition was pushing for an expanded Executive in a parliamentary system.


ODM leader Raila Odinga gifts UK High Commissioner Jane Marriott with his autobiography at his Capitol Hill office in Nairobi PHOTO/ODM TEAM


The trade talks come at a time when Kenya is hoping to seal a post-Brexit trade agreement with the UK by the start of next year, to create continuity in market access, according to the EastAfrican.

Kenya’s High Commissioner to the UK Manoah Esipisu expects a post-Brexit agreement to borrow a leaf from one already signed by southern African countries, besides sealing investment agreements.

A study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in April found that a no-Brexit deal for the United Kingdom would see Kenyan exports drop by an initial $20.6 million (Sh2 billion), making it one of the worst-hit economies in Africa.

UNCTAD said the UK and its future trading partners need to expedite bilateral deals if they are to avoid the costs of exiting the EU without a deal.

Under the EU, Kenya accessed UK markets on duty-free, quota-free arrangements as part of the deal signed with the bloc to enable continued privileged export of fresh farm produce like flowers and fruits.

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