UK PM Rishi Sunak Hands Ruto Ksh500 Billion at COP27

President William Ruto (left) meets UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during COP27 Conference on Monday, November 7, 2022.
President William Ruto (left) meets UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during COP27 Conference on Monday, November 7, 2022.

The UK and Kenya have agreed to progress Ksh500 billion in new British investment projects to support the country’s leadership on climate change.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Kenyan President William Ruto brokered this deal at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt November 7, 2022.

The leaders agreed to fast-track six green investment projects worth Ksh500 billion spanning green energy, agriculture and transport.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street. CNN
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Downing Street. CNN

Sunak praised Kenya’s pioneering climate leadership and urged President Ruto to continue championing clean growth.

These investments will become flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement that is unlocking mutual benefits for the UK and Kenya.

The projects include:

1. New geothermal and solar energy generation at Menegai and Malindi.

2. Ksh425 billion Public Private Partnership to deliver the Grand High Falls Dam, which will generate a gigawatt of renewable power and provide an area over twice the size of the Maasai Mara with drought-combating irrigation solutions.

Details of the projects to be fast-tracked include:

1) Malindi Solar Expansion: Ksh7.5 billion investment. A 40 MW solar plant, constructed by UK company Globeleq with finance from British International Investment, was connected to the grid in December 2021. Plans will double the size of Malindi Solar and add battery storage – an additional Ksh7.5 billion investment - making over Ksh15 billion total.

2) Menengai Geothermal: Ksh2.5 billion investment. A 35 MW geothermal project led by GDC and Globeleq will mark the full development of a field discovered by GDC. The project has a signed and effective Power Purchase Agreement with KPLC that confirms one of the cheapest tariffs for baseload renewable power.

3) Grand High Falls Dam: Ksh425 billion investment. A Public Private Partnership on the Tana River will generate 1,000MW of hydroelectric energy capacity and irrigation for 400,000 hectares of farmland.

This will be led by UK engineering firm GBM, the project is envisaged to include both a Power Purchase Agreement for clean energy and a Water Purchase Agreement for agricultural irrigation.

4) Nairobi Railway City: Ksh5 billion investment. A green regeneration of central Nairobi, anchored around a new central rail station connected to Bus Rapid Transit, incorporating the latest innovations in green building technology and planning.

The project has been developed with technical assistance from the UK Government and UK architects (Atkins) won the contract to design the new station.

5) United Green: Ksh31 billion investment. Climate-smart crop and agro-industrial processing system via a joint venture with Kisumu County that will create 2,000 direct jobs and provide an income for a further 20,000 farmers across counties in the Lake Victoria region.

6) Guarantees: The UK Government is collaborating with CPF Financial Services and other private investors, including Cardano Development, to launch a new guarantee company that will de-risk investments and unlock private finance from pension funds and insurance companies for projects in Kenya.

Commenting on the partnership, British High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott, remarked, “The UK and Kenya go far when we go together. By fast-tracking finance into these clean, green projects with honest, reliable investment the UK is supporting Kenya to advance and maintain its continent-leading climate credentials – with mutual benefits for both our countries."

President Ruto with British High Commissioner Jane Marriot.
President Ruto with British High Commissioner Jane Marriot.
The Standard