Tobias Ellwood, British Minister for the Middle East and Africa, visited Somalia and Kenya on 2-3 August. On his first visit following his appointment as Minister for Africa, Mr Ellwood reiterated the UK's commitment to East Africa, making clear that regional security is a top priority.
The UK is the only EU country to maintain an Embassy in Somalia and has been at the forefront of efforts to improve security and stability in Somalia and the surrounding region. Kenya is pivotal to the success of the region, and its continued commitment to working with international partners to build stability in Somalia will be vital.
Speaking at the end of the two day visit the Minister said:
The UK has strong and enduring links with Africa and I want to ensure that across the continent people know that this cooperation and our engagement will not only continue, but strengthen and deepen in the years ahead.
Regional security in East Africa is incredibly high up the agenda for me and I was proud to meet members of the British Armed Forces working to support the African Union and UN Missions. Their deployment exemplifies how important this region is to the UK and shows our continued commitment to securing lasting peace.
I was encouraged to hear from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud about the progress that has been made towards a more inclusive electoral process this year. This will be a key step towards one-person, one-vote elections in 2020 and agreement of an overall Federal settlement, which is crucial to Somalia's future stability.
The UK is committed to supporting Somalia to build institutions that represent the Somali people and that can effectively tackle security challenges, deliver services, and promote economic development.
In Kenya I met with government representatives, including Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Amina Mohamed, to discuss our continued partnership across key areas such as prosperity, security and migration".
The UK has provided extensive support towards a secure Somalia including the deployment of up to 70 UK military personnel to support existing missions in the region.
Real results can already be seen, Al-Shabaab has been driven from most cities and there have been no successful piracy attacks in four years. Federal government structures are in place and there will be an electoral process this year.
Britain has also provided significant humanitarian and development support including providing basic services, tackling corruption and promoting more inclusive and effective government institutions.
The visit concluded in Nairobi on 3 August where the Minister saw UK-led peace training provided to regional militaries and explored developing the UK and Kenya's trade relationship. Kenya is a key partner in a region that matters to the UK, pivotal to the region's success on integrating and developing economies, harnessing the potential of new industries, infrastructure and technologies; and building security in places like Somalia, South Sudan and the Great Lakes.