Monday, 16 November 2020 10:22

Kenya’s Foreign Policy towards the Horn of Africa: A Case of the Lamu Port-South Sudan Ethiopia

Written by C. C. O. Okwany
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C. C. O. Okwany

Department of Political Science and Public Administration,

The University of Nairobi.

Postal address – 48171, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya: +254 729 226 64

Corresponding Author:

The paper examines and evaluates the multibillion-dollar project of road, railway, airports, and industries signed between Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan – the Lamu Port South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). It identifies how the northern transport corridor will impact Kenya’s relation with her neighbors? A triangulation of Key Informants’ interviews with government and academic documents led to a satisfactory conclusion. The paper demonstrates the role of personal rule and identity politics played in foreign policymaking; however, it confirms that identity is not static but reflexive and adaptive.  Already having signed a US dollar 480 million agreement with Chinese Construction and Communication Company, LAPSSET faces external competition from other projects like the upcoming Chinese backed, estimated US Dollar 10 billion Tanzanian port expansion in Dar Es Salaam, attracting Uganda’s withdrawal, and the Djibouti-Ethiopia road and port. The Somalia auction of the Lamu seabed blocks creates further maritime disputes between Kenya and Somalia, risking the Lamu port. Despite LAPSSET being a strategic project that raises Kenya’s status, the paper points out that the institution of Kenya’s foreign policy takes a tactical move towards the progress of the project.

Keywords: Foreign Policy, Kenya, LAPSSET, Ontological Security, Horn of Africa. 

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