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Kenya now sinks Sh170m to repair UK envoy’s home

Kenya will spend Sh170 million renovating the high commissioner’s residence in London, highlighting the taxpayers’ burden of keeping diplomats comfortable.

The Treasury has allocated Sh150 million to revamp the envoy’s home for the year starting July, on top of the Sh20 million it offered in the current year to start the renovations.

The ministry has recently indicated a change of plan from lease of space to property purchase as rental costs for embassies and consulates shoot into billions of shillings annually.

Rent expenses by Kenyan foreign missions now account for a fifth or Sh3.58 billion of the ministry’s Sh17.9 billion recurrent budget in the year to last June.

London is one of the cities including Geneva, New York and Washington considered to have a big profile among Kenya embassies and high commissions. This is a pointer to the millions being spend to revamp the London residence of the Kenyan envoy.

Kenya has 49 embassies and high commissions abroad alongside 27 consulates – a subdivision of the embassy that protects interests of Kenyans in foreign lands.

Britain’s relationship with Kenya, its former colony, is a broad trade, cultural, and military alliance forged over the last century.

United Kingdom is the second largest market for Kenya- made goods in Europe after the Netherlands. Kenya exported Sh38.5 billion goods last year and imported Sh30 billion products from Britain.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is seen in Nairobi as an opportunity to renew trade and investment relations.

Foreign Affairs ministry said it would be active in the property market abroad through purchase of chanceries, ambassadors’ residences and staff houses to cut down on rent costs. It will spend Sh1.9 billion in the year starting July on renovations and property deals.

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