African politics, Horn Watch

America and China’s arms race in Africa


Africa has become an unlikely Ground Zero in China’s attempt to break America’s global hegemony. Nothing demonstrate this than two tiny African countries with a combined population of less than 3 Million- Namibia 2.303,000 and Djibouti 886, 313 that have become the epicentre of the Sino- American competition.

For comparison, Kansas State, 34th in terms of population, has more people than the combined population of Namibia and Djibouti. In terms of the size Djibouti is the same size as New Jersey.

Remarkably, Africa which until recently was regarded as the backwater of global diplomatic game, a poster child for conflict, famine and coups, because of decades of sustained economic growth and the search for the next frontier by the global powers, placed Africa at the sharp end of geostrategic contest.

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As an emerging power, everything China does attracts attention, and therefore, the South China Sea tension rightly hogs the major news headlines- because it ticks off all the necessary diplomatic boxes. However, another equally high octane diplo-maritime competition between China and America is taking place behind the headlines.

Decades of sustained economic growth

Over the last few years, Africa has recorded remarkable stable economic growth; in 2010, Africa had a middle class of about 313 million people, or 34 percent of the population, according to the African Development Bank— almost three times the count in 1980, when they made up 26 percent.

Seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Seventy percent of the continent’s people live in countries that posted average growth rates in excess of 4 percent over the past decade, has made the continent as the next frontier of business/political and diplomatic.

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According to African Development Bank’s 2015 Economic Outlook “many African countries have improved their investment climate and conditions for doing business, which enhance long-term growth prospects. Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Senegal and Togo are even in the top ten countries worldwide with the most reforms making it easier to do business”.

However, major African currencies have been performing poorly against the major global currencies. Nonetheless, this and many other impressive statistics has made Africa the next frontier of economic growth. The nexus between Africa’s economic growths, hence a decent return on investment, and global powers search for the next place to invest has made the continent a perfect candidate for the competition, with each wooing, as opposed to conditionality- a modus operandi decades ago.

Djibouti’s “Arc of Democracy” or “String of Pearls?

Djibouti has assumed an outsized strategic importance in the Indian Ocean pitting China and United States and its allies. While the United States and its allies would want to make Djibouti part of the Arc of Democracy connecting Djibouti to Port Blair to Yokosuka, China wants Djibouti to be under its Strings of Pearls orbit.

According to reports, China will in the next few years build naval bases in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Mynanmar in the northern Indian Ocean; Djibouti, Yemen, Oman, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique in the western Indian Ocean; and Seychelles and Madagascar in the central South Indian Ocean. Most of these primarily target the lucrative Indian Ocean trade route.

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China is in discussions with Djibouti to build a naval base in the town of Obock where lucrative and strategic Bab-el-Mandeb Strait acts as a strategic link between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea via the Red Sea and the Sauz Canal.

According to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) fact-sheet on global oil chokepoints, 3.8 million barrels of oil and “refined petroleum products” passed through the Bab el-Mandeb each day on its way to Europe, Asia, and the US, making it the world’s fourth-busiest chokepoint.

According to World Oil Transit Chokepoints, Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy, In 2006, an estimated 3.3 million barrels (520,000 m3) of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about 43 million barrels per day (6,800,000 m3/d) moved by tankers.

China’s Djibouti overture is back on the heel of United States signing of a 20 years lease for Camp Lemonnier, the Naval Expeditionary Base, situated at Djibouti’s Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport and home to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa of the U.S. Africa Command, the face of the United States presence in Africa.

The terms of the lease renewal is about $70 million a year — $63 million in lease fees and the rest in development aid — more than double the current leasing fees of roughly $30 million a year. A clean demonstration of the value the United States attaches to the base.

While in the past China looked at Africa largely through the economic lens as a counter weight to the West, here, stealthy, China is guided by security more than trade, and Djibouti ticks the dual security and trade box.

Namibia

In Namibia China is exploring building a naval base in Walvis Bay. “The South Atlantic, while below the radar of most policy makers today, has played an outsized role in modern naval history. Therein lies the importance of Walvis Bay’

 

 

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The Walvis Bay will provide China with the ‘ability to patrol the critical Cape of Good Hope around Africa and Cape Horn around South America. The approaches to the key North Atlantic sea lanes linking the Americas, Africa and Europe would be nearby’

Walvis Bay and Bab-el-Mandeb Strait gives China a significant naval leverage and control of the major routes.

Recognising the critical utility of Walvis Bay, the United States, has embarked on charm offensive; barely three months in office, President Hage Geingob Ray Mabus of Namibia met United State Secretary of the Navy at the Pentagon.

With Facing East- being in China’s sphere of influence, or West being a choice most countries have to make, a stark throwback to the Cold War era, how this two African countries negotiate the tricky ‘double dipping’, will in the future form the template of how to accommodate the West and its technological prowess, and the East, with trade first approach. Either way, the sea change of Africa’s relations with the outsider needs to anchored on a solid mutually beneficial foundation, rather than one way traffic; whether that involves China- the most significant player in recent years, the West- that is playing catch up, or both at the same time.

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African politics, Asymmetrical Warfare, Horn Watch, Kenya Watch

The Fear Industrial complex


Kenyatta, the Father of the Nation?

Kenyatta’s well-cultivated myth of the unquestioned “father of the Nation” was severely tested when on 25th January 1964 African soldiers at the Lanet Barracks mutinied over discrimination by their expatriates over salaries. The African members of the Kenya Rifle broke the armory in Lanet Barracks and demanded a forum with Kenyatta to discuss their grievances. To the Mutineers, Independence heralded a new era where the Africans will determine the African destiny. Further, Kenyatta’s personality as a freedom fighter, just like much of independent African leadership, was built around fierce anti-imperialism rhetoric. And the soldiers thought he will be sympathetic to their plight, instead to resolve the problem sought British’s help, and decision, led to a series of agreements with the British by which the former colonial power agreed to provide military support in the event of any domestic or foreign threat to Kenyatta’s government. For Kenyatta, the attempted mutiny became a perfect bogeyman deployed conveniently against any domestic opponents. Kenyatta elevated the presidency by making it the be all and end all, and effectively placing it above the law. To consolidate his rule, Kenyatta employed five strategies; 1) at the party level; he purged ruling party KANU; off any dissenting voices he considered alternative centers of power. 2) He established a firm grip over the economy through strategic patronage using members of his ethnic group. 3) He deployed the full force of security and the intelligence to address both real and imagined threats. 4) He instrumentalised the liberation struggle by crafting an alternative convenient national discourse and ruling philosophy using his “gift of garb”, especially, the Swahili language. 5) He used the law. This became the template for all the subsequent administration.

Moi, Fuata Nyayo za Kenyatta

Just like Kenyatta used the 1964 Lanet Mutiny to consolidate his power, Moi used the August 1 1982 failed coup to shed his “Mister Nice” image. After the coup, detention and arrest of pro-reform movement became rampant any perceived threat real or imagine was brutally suppressed. And with it, any residual veneer of Moi being different from Kenyatta was shattered. From there on, the state laid down the marker- reform was interpreted as an underhand attempt at state capture. But Mwakenya, a progressive movement largely aligned with the progressive left was undeterred. They started organizing in the urban areas and university halls. But when the state got wind of it, they ruthlessly pursued them. Moi ruled by fiat and fear.

Simultaneously, just like Kenyatta, Moi cultivated an endearingly myth of Baba wa Taifa– Father of the Nation. And a larger than life personality was created around this myth that was celebrated in songs, institutions- schools, hospitals, universities etc, and roads named after him. Moi was always at pain to present himself as a man with his hands on the pulse of the man on the street.

Avenues of challenging the status quo were formally closed through a constitutional change. Even within the ruling party dissent was not tolerated. The party established a severe disciplinary committee to streamline the party’s operations. Unlike Kenyatta who cared little about the political party, to Moi, the party was another avenue of control-a fulcrum around which he consolidated his rule, although it was by no means the only one.  When all avenues were closed, the pro-reform movement went underground and some went into exile.

The West tolerated Moi’s domestic repression because Kenya was in the Western bloc. But the end of the Cold War changed the Western countries calculus regarding Kenya as a vanguard against communism, signaling the end of an era of tolerating Moi’s malfeasance. After years of refusing to allow multiparty despite relentless pressure, arguing, multiparty will deepen ethnic division and violence- a self-fulfilling prophecy because all the subsequent violence were state engineered, Moi begrudgingly accepted the introduction of multiparty. But before accepting multiparty Moi ensured he has created his ruling party, KANU’s exclusive electoral blocks through forceful evictions of potential opposition population in the Rift Valley and coastal Kenya, the two places that became synonymous with electoral violence.

Kenyatta II, the post-Westgate warrior?

Even ardent Kenyatta’s supporters will gladly admit his election was a protest vote against external intervention, especially the ICC. Many admit their vote was not for Kenyatta, but against the ICC. And by joining with William Ruto, Kenyatta coasted to victory on the crest of anti-ICC rhetoric. Kenyatta has always been cast as a child of privilege; his father was Kenya’s first president. And he was not “presidential” enough. But even trenchant anti-Uhuru would be hard pressed not to admire his presidential performance during the Westgate attack. Since the West gate attack Kenyatta’s statesmanship has given way to reflexive criminalization of spaces for dissent. Since his elections campaign sprung from protest against external interference, he has turned the same rage machine domestically on the two institutions that are not in his exclusive ambit- the media and the civil society. But these institutions especially the civil society faced scathing part of his election campaign rhetoric. They were called the evil society; they received external money to prevent his accession to power. In parliament Kenyatta has super majority, which has reduced the opposition into cyclic impotence outburst. Free of parliamentary censure Kenyatta turned on the media and the civil society by proposing laws that will cripple them financially. Part of the new media law proposed special quasi government body that will police the media and impose prohibitive fines are the major thrust of the media bill that was passed 5 December 2013. However, the NGO bill failed to garner the requisite number in parliament. If passed the NGO bill would have placed them under de facto government management and capped international funding for NGOs at 15% of their budgets, notably hindering a key source of cash for many rights groups and anti-corruption watchdogs. This was designed to hit the NGO’s where it matters most. The bill was defeated 83 to 73 votes, with eight lawmakers abstaining, marking the first significant defeat for the ruling Jubilee coalition.

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The past few months have left the East African Community (EAC) in a state of flux following the emergence of the Coalition of the Willing (CoW) that includes Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda at the exclusion of Tanzania– the founding member and the country where also the EAC’s headquarter is located. As a counter measure, Tanzania announced it would form a mini- community that constitutes Tanzania, Burundi, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This move and counter-move brings back a distinct feeling of dejavu – reminding us of when the East African Community collapsed in 1977 a decade after its formation.

The first EAC collapsed in the heat of the raging Cold War. Kenya was seen as a spoiler for its strong pro- capitalist Western bloc posture while Tanzania was firmly in the Eastern block. The East- West boiled over when Tanzania’s president Julius Nyerere remarked, “Kenya is a man eats man society”, to which the then Kenyan Attorney General Charles Njonjo replied, “Tanzania is a man eat nothing society”.

Eventually, relations between Kenya and Tanzania were so frayed, the union collapsed. Because most of the union’s headquarters and assets were in Nairobi, Kenya took them over, something that up to the current date animates other EAC members especially Tanzania who feels Kenya benefitted from the collapse of the EAC.

Additionally, Tanzanians and Ugandans believe a full fledged EAC will eventually help Kenya, at their expense, because, as they argue Kenyans are “aggressive”. They reckon Kenyans will take over their jobs, businesses and land once the full union is consummated.

The Trigger: Rwanda, too sensitive to be criticized?

Democratic Republic of Congo is Rwanda and Uganda’s playing field- they have either invaded it multiple times or supported various proxies to advance their agenda. Therefore, Tanzania’s suggestion that Kigali should negotiate with the FDLR genocidaire militia who went into DRC after their overthrow in Rwanda in 1994 was not seen favorably. For a start, it appears Tanzania is interfering in Uganda and Rwanda’s “sphere of influence”. Tanzania’s comment brought a spotlight to the DRC, something Kampala and Kigali would rather ignore because such a spotlight will unwittingly bring Uganda and Rwanda’s role in DRC under the regional and the international radar.

More particularly, Rwanda feels Tanzania doesn’t appreciate Kigali’s firm position- they will never negotiate with the genocaidaires. But Tanzania went beyond just suggesting negotiation, under the new United Nation’s the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), Tanzania moved a step further in addressing the DRC’S conflict by supplying troops to disarm the recent reincarnation of the ever mutating rebel movement landscape, the M23. Since the Tanzania-led intervention, the M23, which until recently with the support of Rwanda has been overrunning government forces, has been brought to the negotiating table. The group recently signed an agreement with the DRC government during Kenya’s 50 years of independence celebration.

Museveni’s grand political agenda as East Africa’s elder statesman

Uhuru Kenyatta has more similarities with Jakaya Kikwete than Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni; President Kagame and Museveni both initially came to power through a rebel movement as opposed to Kenyatta and Jakaya Kikwete who came to power through elections. Additionally, both Rwanda and Uganda are landlocked compared to Kenya and Tanzania who both have ports. In terms of age also, Kenyatta is closer to Kikwete than the other two. In the region, however, Museveni is the longest serving president beating the previous record holder Kenya’s Daniel Moi. Therefore, he subconsciously reckons to be seen as such, and by extension harbors the ambition of being the statesman.

The East African charter envisions ultimately the creation of a political federation, and Museveni sees himself as the person to be the president of East Africa. But that is a long shot because even domestically, Museveni’s legitimacy is slowly eroding.

Dar-es Salam’s ambition to upstage Mombasa port?

Of the EAC countries, only Kenya and Tanzania have seaports.

The port of Mombasa is one of the factors that have made the country a regional economic powerhouse. That could change with Tanzania building a mega port in Bagamoyo, north of Dar Es Salaam through a Chinese financed $10 Billion project. As part of the new port, new roads and railroads that connect to existing road and railroad networks will undergo upgrades.

When finalized, the new port will handle 20 million cargo containers a year compared to the present capacity of Dar es Salaam’ s of 800,000 containers a year. This new project will be a game changer in the regional economic dynamics and will significantly alter Dar leverage. But Kenya should also use this as an opportunity to increase efficiency, reduce corruption and cargo clearing time at the port of Mombasa that is increasing the cost of doing business in Kenya.

New efforts at upgrading the Mombasa port while welcomed, have been long over due, and if Kenya wants to retain its competitive edge, the Bagamoyo port is a real wake up call. But in the broader sense such competition and the slew of massive Chinese funded infrastructure projects in the region is welcomed, if well procured and implemented. In the grand scheme of things, the core of EAC is all about expanding economic opportunities rather than gratuitous quarrels.

Challenges and opportunities

The latest tensions in the EAC, while challenging, could also be an opportunity for the community to thrash out significant divergent points of view. But more remarkable is that the latest disagreements have nothing to do with the EAC per se, but the intractable conflict in the DRC. However, in the long term, EAC leaders will be well served not to throw the baby out with the bath water, because the EAC has tremendous opportunity and potential to transform the region and beyond. With the possible addition of Ethiopia, and maybe Somalia the EAC could prove to be a massive economic driver, and establish itself as the premier economic bloc in Africa.

However, the latest European Union meltdown provides a cautionary tale regarding rushed monetary and political unions. Therefore, the leaders should guard against a rushed monetary union and political federation. Further, the leaders will be well served to solve any emerging disagreement through the community’s existing mechanism rather than through the press, because that would only exacerbate the situation. Further, part of that solution should include Tanzania in the East African Commission.


Last week Jamal Osman of British Channel 4 had exclusive access to Al Shabaab, the Islamist militant group based in Somalia, including access to a training and graduation ceremony.

Al Shabaab emerged not as a rag tag semi-informed group, but a group with sophisticated understanding of the duality of the state; brutal efficiency in employing force and in the second order the ability to undertake state’s benign function- collecting garbage and ensuring pharmacies stock unexpired drugs. In popular state formation theories what distinguishes or indeed make a state a state is its ability to project the use of force. By being the prominent purveyor of violence the state increases the cost of anyone who wants to challenge the state violently, and also provide incentive for a group(s) to accept to be part of the state. Since its collapse, Somalia’s ability to function as a state and project the use of force has been outsourced to external actors. As a result – nature abhors vacuum, Al Shabaab or previously warlords filled in.

The group’s overarching understanding that the center of gravity for its survival rests with the citizens and not the state or external actors explains their durability; as long as they can provide security- because they are biggest source of violence anyway, and garbage is collected in areas they control, buys them legitimacy albeit through fear.

While all external actors crave to be loved, Al- Shabaab thrives on fear. In understanding Somali’s, one has to struggle with the paradox of being at once a pastoral democrats- ready to negotiate some issues , and an unflinching republican- some relations like family are nonnegotiable. Al- Shabaab concentrated on the later part- Somali’s can trenchantly disagree over their clan politics, but regarding their sovereignty both personal and collectively, they will never negotiate- they are unrepentant nationalists, because of the state’s absence, rhetorically and sometimes symbolically Al Shabaab acts as the vanguard and the only reliable custodian of Somali nationalism and identity.

This is further entrenched by the fact most of the post-1991 government’s have not been organically constituted – they have been externally midwifed, makes Al Shabaab a formidable custodians of the Somalia identity.

While Al Shabaab has that luxury (Monopoly), the Somalia government that has to juggle so many contradicting and often competing interests- the Turks who would want to show Somalia as the testing ground for International Islamic brotherhood through humanitarian lens, the Europeans and the Americans who have mortal fear of radicalization of Somalia youth immigrants, the African Union who want to prove the dictum Africa’s solutions to Africa’s problem. Without any leverage, the Somalia president/Prime Minister is left at the mercy of all these and many actors. All the while Al Shabaab is capable of being run like a well-oiled machine The Western countries have by default reduced their footprints and focus on counterterrorism. This is guided by rational calculations; limited footprints means limited domestic political consequences, inoculate themselves against accusation of invaders. But this singular focus on terrorism by the West is akin to attempting to address the symptoms rather than the cause of Somalia’s crisis- classic Band-Aid solution.

 

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The African countries are enamored by the African solution to the Africa’s problems, but they suffer from the naivety since we are fellow Africans, Somalis will welcome us with flowers at the gate of Mogadishu. Just like any other modern intervention, the window between an intervention is regarded as liberation and invasion is small, and in the case of the AMISOM they need to grasp that reality urgently, otherwise, their genuine effort of winning over Afro-pessimist could be undone. In all, everyone is in Somalia for their own success rather than Somalis, and that explains why Al Shabaab succeeds and other fail.

Another group that most external actors could learn from is the Khat/Miraa distributors in Somalia. Since the collapse of the state in 1991, Miraa/Khat- a mild stimulant popular in East Africa and grown in Eastern part of Kenya has been exported to Somalia war or peace. It is distributed more efficiently than any food aid. This efficiency beats what any economist envisages when they speak about the virtues of the unseen hand of the market. This is despite the Al Shabaab banning Miraa as Haram- forbidden.

The group that can survive Al Shabaab has an enduring lesson for all. The Miraa’s distribution network, their resiliency could be a case study on how to operate in a hostile environment. May be it is about time we undertake an unbiased case study of Al Shabaab and Miraa/Khat distributors on how to establish a state and an efficient distribution network of economic and public goods- the key pre-requisite of a state.

Asymmetrical Warfare, Horn Watch, Kenya Watch

Al Shabaab and the Miraa distributors could hold the key to resolving Somalia’s crisis.

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African politics, Horn Watch, Kenya Watch

Kenyatta’s foreign policy memo VI: Facing East or West?


Both the West and Kenya need to exercise extra circumspection over this issue because give or take, the ICC cases will take four to five years, which will coincide with the next election cycle- and no one will benefit from the negative back and forth between Kenya and the western countries. It is not so much that Kenya has come of age; it is just good housekeeping to be in good terms with all. This cuts both ways, the era of deference diplomacy from African countries is coming to an end, not least because the unilateral world order is under a severe test – and nowhere is this as acute as in Africa, where the presence of China is rewriting the diplomatic arc of the continent. Also several African countries, Kenya included are primed to “take off” economically. China’s under the radar, as opposed to gung-ho mega diplomacy favored by the West, with its emphasis on infrastructure with little bureaucracy tied to aid, its aversion of public denunciation of its host countries, and its noninterference in the domestic human rights issues makes it an attractive alternative for most African countries which have endured decades of playing second fiddle to the West. Self-righteous one way diplomatic traffic is now counterproductive to the West’s long term interest.
However, while China provides an alternative, Kenya should guard against a reflexive uncritical embrace of China because China’s stuff is not for free. China’s foreign policy is not driven by serving poor Africans who have been mistreated by the West. Their mass migration and engagement in small trade, which was a preserve of local entrepreneurs, an upswing in poaching in most of the African countries, as well as hiring Chinese and not Africans, are all reasons to be circumspect about giving them a blank check. Additionally, in terms of technology and innovation, China is still playing catch up with the West, their flooding of the market with substandard goods needs to be stopped, lest they cause more damage.

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African politics, Horn Watch, Kenya Watch

Kenyatta’s foreign policy V


Expanding the frontiers one brick and motor at a time.

 President Kenyatta could turn the mega, Sh1.5 trillion (approximately 171.63 billion U.S. dollars) Lamu Port-Southern SudanEthiopia Transport project or (LAPSET), into his signature domestic, but more significantly, foreign policy achievements. The plank of the project are; a road network, a railway network, an oil pipeline network from South Sudan to Lamu, and airports that will be located at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichogio. The railway network will run from Lamu to Isiolo from where one line will branch to Ethiopia and another one to South Sudan. At the macro level, this project will achieve duo intent, domestically; it will open the restive South Coast, Northern Kenya and Northern Rift Valley. These regions are the least developed regions in Kenya, with simmering discontent against the state ever present. The perennial cattle rustling as a result of government neglect has made the regions arguably one of the most armed in the country. By bringing the government services closer to the people without exploiting their natural resources will inoculate the center from any potential anti-government rebellion. Additionally, the project also hooks up these peripheries, the largest landmass of Kenya, to the market, and transforms it into the center. In terms of foreign policy calculus; the project will link Kenya with Sudan and Ethiopia- the largest market in the region, Ethiopia, which has 91 Million people.

Further, the discovery of oil and gas in Northern Kenya and Northern Rift Valley, the two marginalized regions, makes Kenyatta to kill two birds with one stone- bring the government services closer to the people, and using these natural resources for the country’s benefit. The bonus for enhancing a good relationship with Sudan and Ethiopia which shares the border with Northern Kenya and Northern Rift Valley is an added incentive.

But Kenya must be cognizance of the fact that all good foreign policy begins at home. Therefore, President Kenyatta should begin embarking on a master plan for how the natural resources from this region are utilized. The communities should form the core constituency in this discussion.  Colonial government and all subsequent post-colonial governments have willfully neglected these regions arguing they contribute little to the national GDP. Kenyatta should ensure the people of these regions are consulted and placed at the center of benefitting from the resource found in their region. The last thing you will need is disenchanted people who will be again excluded from these ones in a life time to lift themselves from poverty. Their disenfranchisement will be pose significant security problem akin to what is going on in Niger Delta in Nigeria. Because of the porous border and prevailing security circumstances, these communities have armed themselves, failing to include them in sharing the gas and oil profit will only succeed in further alienating them, which will only increase more security headache for the administration. Because of porous borders, the communities here have been able to acquire arms, which makes is a commonsense approach to involve them in sharing of the resources.

Foreign policy involves employing a mix of a clear eyed realism and idealism, in both cases the stars have been aligned for Kenyatta. With an autonomous and seemingly competent cabinet in place, Kenyatta can focus his energy in foreign policy, thus placing his money where his mouth is.

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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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