UK gov to build a cyber centre in Kenya and tap into African tech potential

This is the latest tech project announced by Theresa May on her three-day tour of Africa

Teresa May in Nigeria with tech student

The UK government will build a new cyber centre in Kenya to prevent British paedophiles abusing children from the country.

It is the latest part of a wider security pact unveiled by Theresa May as she heads to Nairobi for the final stop of her three-day tour of Africa.

Speaking about the cyber centre, the Prime Minister said: "Online child exploitation is an abhorrent crime and we are determined to ensure there is no place to hide for predators who use the internet to share images of abuse across borders, too often with impunity.

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"This builds on our ongoing work with Kenya on security and criminal justice, a partnership which has already helped to convict and imprison terrorists in the UK."

The new cybersecurity centre will for the first time enable Kenyan authorities to access data on abuse cases provided by technology firms to help bring predators to justice.

Security has been the underlying theme for much of May's tour after also announcing projects in South Africa and Nigeria to strengthens ties with the regions that have growing technology sectors.

The UK has already invested in science and research in Africa and these new projects the government call "Innovation Partnerships" aim to connect UK entrepreneurs with their African counterparts to develop cutting-edge technology. 

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The government believes many of the African nations are untapped markets as its tech sector is one of its fastest growing sectors. The continent's startups raised 50% more venture capital in 2017 than in 2016, and where the lion's share of that money is being invested in South Africa (130 million), Kenya (114 million) and Nigeria (89 million).

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"These new Innovation Partnerships will not only help countries turbocharge their development, but they will also promote the UK as the place to start and grow a digital business," said Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright.

"Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya's technology sectors are growing rapidly and generating a significant part of their economic output. This means huge opportunities for UK businesses and for future partnerships."

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