Kenya Defense and Security

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Defense and security

The risk of terrorism remains high, with more than 500 deaths caused by the al-Shabaab attacks between 2012 and June 2015 . The continuing destabilization of Somalia, the spread of al-Shabaab in the country, also thanks to Somali refugees, and its links with transnational jihadist networks remain the main concerns for the government. Incidents along the ocean coast continued sporadically during the two-year period 2013-14, while between June and July 2014 a series of armed raids by rebels in the Lamu region resulted in about 100 victims. Another source of instability are ethnic rivalries which easily become confrontational.

The crime is endemic and reflects the social system and political problems of the country. Among these, the main one remains that of widespread poverty, in addition to the large availability of small arms and a security system that is not yet adequate. Following the Islamist attacks, a mutual collaboration arose between the US and Kenyan forces.

Kenya has an army of 24,120 and participates in numerous peacekeeping missions. The main one remains the Amisom mission of the African Union in Somalia, which is flanked by operation Linda Nchi (Protect the nation), together with the Ethiopian, Somali, French and US-backed armies against al-Shabaab militias. Nairobi also participate in missions A in South Sudan (UNMISS), Sudan (UNAMID) and the DRC (MONUSCO).

Kenya’s military engagement in Somalia and al-Shabaab’s response

When the African Union mission in Somalia (Amisom), in 2007, Kenya did not take part in it to avoid repercussions on its territory by Somali armed groups. However, the rise of al-Shabaab and the increased risk of insecurity led Nairobi to review its policy and adopt an openly interventionist attitude. The kidnappings of local and Western aid workers and the infiltration of al-Shabaab members into Kenyan territory led the Nairobi government to organize a joint mission with Somali and Ethiopian regular army troops. Operation Linda Nchi (Protect the Nation) began in 2011, and resulted in a military incursion that succeeded in repelling al-Shabaab away from the Kenyan border and conquering the port of Kisimayo, of great logistical importance. and strategic.Amisom in 2012. Fears that unilateral action by the Kenyatta government would provoke retaliation were confirmed by the serious attacks that took place in the following months. Between 2011 and 2015 in Kenya there were about 150 attacks, which caused more than 500 victims. Particularly serious were the attack on the Westgate shopping center in Nairobi (21 September 2013), which caused 68 deaths and at least 150 injured, and the raid on the college of Garissa (April 2015), an institution frequented mainly by Christians, in the which the victims were 148, including 142 students.

Economy and energy

Despite the international economic crisis and internal unrest have slowed down its progression (with rates for the 2008-09 two-year period equal to 0.2% and 3.3%), the Kenyan economy seems to have restarted, maintaining growth around 5 % between 2011-14 and reaching 6.5% in 2015. Unlike other countries, the collapse in oil prices could represent a benefit for Kenya, whose economic system does not depend on extractive resources. Most of the population is employed in the informal sector and in subsistence agriculture.

Agriculture accounts for 30.3% of GDP and supplies the main exported products, such as tea and fruit and vegetables, followed by coffee and fish. In 2015, drought affected agricultural production, which remains dependent on external shocks despite government investments in irrigation systems. Kenya is the most industrialized country in East Africa and the largest exporter of manufactured goods within the EAC, while its exports to the United States and the European Union mainly concern basic products. The service sector accounts for 50.4% of GDP and is the main driver of development of the national economy. A significant part of this result comes from tourism, featuring safaris and coastal holiday villages, especially on the beaches of Mombasa. However, the security problems linked to terrorism have caused a significant contraction of the sector. The growth of the telecommunications sector has been very significant in recent years.

Remittances represent a fundamental resource for the national economy, while attracting foreign investments to the country is made difficult by the inadequacy of infrastructure and widespread corruption. The port of Lamu is in further expansion to exploit as much as possible the trade route that connects Kenya to South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda (Lapsset). In August 2015 Uganda and Kenya signed an agreement to build an oil pipeline that reaches the port, but the safety problem weighs on the project.

According to, Kenya produces more than 80% of the energy it consumes, generated for more than 70% by the combustion of wood. Oil is imported for the commercial sector while biomass is used by rural and peripheral urban communities. The government is funding the expansion of electricity supply in rural areas, secondary schools and health centers, with the aim of reducing power outages, improving infrastructure and stimulating economic development.

Kenya Defense

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