New British High Commissioner-Neil Wigan reports to duty in Kenya

Neil Wigan

Neil Wigan, the new British High Commissioner to Kenya.

Photo credit: Courtesy

The British High Commissioner-designate, Neil Wigan OBE, has officially taken up his post as Head of Mission at the British High Commission in Nairobi.

Mr Wigan succeeds Jane Marriott at at a pivotal juncture in UK-Kenya relations.

In his introductory statement, Mr Wigan expressed his excitement at leading the team at the British High Commission, a long-held ambition of his. He spoke of his deep connection with Kenya, recounting his first visit in 1977, his children's education in Nairobi, and his many visits for business and pleasure.

The new High Commissioner is eager to explore once again the diverse offerings of "magical Kenya".

"It has been a long-term ambition of mine to lead the team at the British High Commission in Nairobi.   I first visited Kenya in 1977, my children went to school in Nairobi, and I have visited Kenya many times, both for business and pleasure.  I am delighted to have returned and look forward to exploring the magic of Kenya," said Mr Wigan.

A key focus of his tenure will be to take forward the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership signed in 2020.

In particular, he highlighted the UK's significant investment of Sh500 billion in various clean and green infrastructure projects.

"I look forward to working with the Government of Kenya on the priorities of our Strategic Partnership, in particular the UK's Sh500 billion investment in clean and green infrastructure projects, including Nairobi Railway City, Menengai Geothermal Plant, Grand High Falls Dam and the Malindi Solar Expansion Project. These projects will, among other things, improve the lives of Kenyans, promote sustainable development and help tackle climate change. I look forward to seeing these projects and other UK-Kenya partnerships in action," said Mr Wigan.

Highlighting the potential for even greater collaboration, Mr Wigan expressed optimism for the future, saying: "Across the partnership, there are more opportunities for us to go far, together. Tafaulu Pamoja!"

Neil Wigan's arrival coincides with a period of remarkable growth in UK-Kenya relations. The strategic partnership covers a wide range of areas, including tackling climate change, promoting mutual prosperity, strengthening people-to-people links and enhancing security cooperation.

The High Commissioner's statement also celebrated the rich history shared by the UK and Kenya, which has laid the foundations for their close relationship.

The Chevening Scholarship Programme, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, has enabled over 600 Kenyans to study at British universities. The British Council's involvement in Kenya's creative and cultural industries, as well as the UK-Kenya Tech Hub's support for digital entrepreneurship, further underlines the depth of collaboration between the two nations.

"This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Chevening, our scholarship programme, which has enabled more than 600 Kenyans to study at UK universities," he said.

The UK is also the largest international investor in Kenya and a major trading partner. Ongoing green infrastructure projects funded by UK investment have cemented Kenya's reputation as a regional climate leader.

The upcoming Africa Climate Summit and the UK-Africa Investment Summit will provide further opportunities to strengthen the important partnership between the two countries.