African politics, Horn Watch, Kenya Watch

Kenyatta’s Foreign Policy Memo Part IV

An Afrocentric foreign policy

Aside from just embracing China, Kenyatta’s inauguration speech, as well the Foreign Secretary’s statements have all alluded to an Afro-centric foreign policy. This is a radical departure from Kenya’s previous foreign policy outlook. And it is not a bad idea, except unless it fails to transcend rhetoric.  The case for Afrocentric foreign policy has never been more significant than now; According to The Economist magazine, “Secondary-school enrolment grew by 48% between 2000 and 2008 after many states expanded their education programmes and scrapped school fees. Over the past decade malaria deaths in some of the worst-affected countries have declined by 30% and HIV infections by up to 74%. Life expectancy across Africa has increased by about 10% and child mortality rates in most countries have been declining” further, “Over the past ten years real income per person has increased by more than 30%, whereas in the previous 20 years it shrank by nearly 10%. Africa is the world’s fastest-growing continent just now. Over the next decade its GDP is expected to rise by an average of 6% a year, not least thanks to foreign direct investment. FDI has gone from $15 billion in 2002 to $37 billion in 2006 and $46 billion in 2012” and six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. These pretty staggering statistics for a continent that fed decades ago was seen as a humanitarian theme park because of the incessant disaster.

Kenyatta can position Kenya as a key player in this milieu by unveiling a master plan on how Kenya leverages its position in reaping maximum benefit from this. This involves setting up a well-staffed- with the right kind of people, not another patronage park, well-resourced unit that can establish Kenya as the ultimate trade diplomat’s hub.

Kenya can turn the ICC travails, by capitalizing on the anti-ICC wave that Kenya has deftly created during the AU’s 50TH anniversary as a platform, thus turning adversity into an opportunity. Additionally, with a progressive constitution, an expanding middle class, and the newly minted technology hub, all the key ingredients are in place, they just need to be harnessed.


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