The United Kingdom’s trade body, the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), has made its grand entrance into Nairobi! Yep, they’ve opened their very first office in the bustling city, and boy, are they excited about it!

Now, why Nairobi, you ask? Well, it’s because this office is not only going to focus on trade and training, but it’s also going to act as a springboard for IOE&IT’s expansion into the rest of Africa. Talk about thinking big!

This move comes hot on the heels of the UK and Kenya signing the Economic Partnership Agreement. It’s like a match made in trade heaven! IOE&IT has been a busy bee, providing top-notch training, education, and consulting services all across the continent. Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria—you name it, they’ve been there, spreading their knowledge far and wide.

Marco Forgione, the Director General of IOE&IT, couldn’t contain his excitement. He said, “This new office, our first in Africa, is an exciting development of our growing partnership. I look forward to using all our knowledge, expertise, and experience to support Africa’s entrepreneurs in growing their intra-Africa and international trade.”

The official launch of the office was held at the Deputy British High Commissioner’s Residence, with Josephine Gauld, the Deputy British High Commissioner to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the UNEP and UN Habitat, gracing the occasion. It was quite the happening event!

Now, here’s the cherry on top: IOE&IT has been teaming up with some big players, like the International Trade Centre and various export promotion authorities, to make waves in the industry. They’ve even partnered with TradeMark Africa and the IOTA Foundation to create something truly revolutionary—an interoperable digital supply chain infrastructure called the Trade and Information Pipeline (TLIP). Fancy name, huh? TLIP aims to streamline the end-to-end supply chain processes in international trade, with Kenya and Africa as a whole taking center stage.

In fact, they’ve already tested TLIP with shipments of cut flowers, coffee, and tea from Kenya to the UK. It was part of the UK Government’s Ecosystem of Trust Pilot. The goal? To not only deliver successful pilots but also use the lessons learned to make policy, legislative, technological, and process changes at the border. They want to scale up those successful models, baby!

And you know what? They’ve got some ambitious targets. They aim to reduce logistics time wastage by 40 percent, cut compliance costs by 20 percent, and slash process duplications by 50 percent. That’s a whole lot of streamlining and simplifying!

So, when will we get to see the results of these pilot programs, you wonder? Well, fear not! The UK government plans to publish the findings in the coming months. We’ll be eagerly waiting for that.

Oh, and here’s a little fun fact for you: UK exports to Kenya in 2021 were worth a whopping £530 million! Meanwhile, imports from Kenya to the UK stood at £579 million. That’s quite the trade dance they’ve got going on.

Ultimately, this new office in Kenya symbolizes the unwavering commitment of both the UK and Kenya to unlocking economic benefits for their countries and people. It’s a partnership that aims to upskill workforces and boost economies. Josephine Gauld sums it up perfectly, saying, “The opening of this office in Kenya is another example of the UK and Kenya’s continued commitment to unlocking mutual economic benefits for our countries and our people, which will upskill our workforces and grow our economies.”

So there you have it! IOE&IT has set its sights on Kenya, with dreams of expanding throughout Africa. Who knows what exciting trade adventures lie ahead? One thing’s for sure—it’s going to be one heck of a journey.