Canada established diplomatic relations with Kenya in 1963 following its independence.
In Kenya, Canada is represented by the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi which is Canada's largest mission in Africa. The High Commission is also responsible for Canada's relations with five other countries in the region as well as with the United Nations Office in Nairobi where the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and UN Habitat are headquartered. Kenya is represented in Canada by a High Commission in Ottawa.
The bilateral relationship between Canada and Kenya is strong and founded on shared interests, particularly regional security. Kenya is East Africa’s largest economy and through its main port provides a crucial trade route to the rest of Africa.
On April 9, 2013 President Uhuru Kenyatta was inaugurated as Kenya’s fourth President following the elections on March 4, 2013 for the Presidency, a new Parliament and County Governors. These were the first elections under Kenya’s new Constitution, adopted in 2010 as the capstone of a national response to the post-electoral violence of 2007-08. Canada congratulated Kenyans on exercising their democratic right and on conducting peacefully the first elections under a new constitution. Kenya is a leading player in regional efforts to improve peace and security, as a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and as an active member of the African Union Peace and Security Council. Kenya is involved in African Union efforts to stabilize relations between Sudan and South Sudan, and has troops deployed with AMISOM in Somalia, as well as on peacekeeping operations in Sudan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Liberia.
Kenya hosts the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) which has benefitted from Canadian support. Kenya has been a member of the Military Training and Cooperation Programme since 1970, with over 300 Kenyan officers trained to date. There are also two Canadian Forces officers deployed full time at the IPSTC in Nairobi.
Canada’s development presence in Nairobi has responsibility for programming in Kenya, supports the Pan-Africa Regional Program, as well as initiatives in other countries in the sub-region. The bilateral program in Kenya contributes to Canada’s development thematic priority of Children and Youth by supporting access to quality education for Kenyan children and youth, particularly girls, with a complementary focus on democratic governance and strengthening public sector accountability.
Canada also provides funding for humanitarian assistance, based on need, in Kenya. This includes support for UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement, and non-governmental organizations to meet the needs of Kenyans affected by chronic drought and food insecurity and of the more than 500,000 Somali and Sudanese refugees currently seeking safety in Kenya. So far in 2014, Canada has provided support to humanitarian operations in Kenya, either directly or as allocations for the Horn of Africa region.
Canada has a well-established trading relationship with Kenya, which has an open-to-business environment and is a regional transportation hub. Two-way merchandise trade reached $132.9 million in 2013, consisting of $110.3 million in exports to, and more than $22.6 million in imports from, Kenya.
Canadian investments in Kenya are most notable in the natural resources sector, where junior exploration companies are actively seeking mineral and oil deposits. Other major Canadian investments include aircraft service centers, call centers and hotels. Opportunities exist for Canadian companies in the extractives, cleantech, transportation infrastructure and education sectors.