US-Kenya Alliance Strengthens Amid Growing Russian Influence in Africa

The recent announcement by US President Joe Biden naming Kenya as a major non-NATO ally marks a significant step in the strengthening of ties between the two countries. This move comes amidst a backdrop of growing Russian and Chinese influence in Africa, as well as a series of military coups in the Sahel region and western Africa that have strained relationships with western nations.

President Biden made the announcement during a state visit by Kenyan President William Ruto, highlighting the importance of the alliance in promoting security cooperation and providing Kenya with access to more sophisticated US weapons. This decision underscores years of collaboration between the two nations, with Kenya playing a crucial role in counterterrorism operations in East Africa and participating in the Ukraine Defence Contact Group coalition to support Kyiv against Moscow.

The US-Kenya alliance has become even more vital as Washington faces setbacks in other parts of Africa, with the Pentagon confirming the withdrawal of troops from Niger due to the breakdown of security cooperation. In contrast, Kenya has pledged to send police officers to Haiti, demonstrating its commitment to international peacekeeping efforts.

President Biden’s focus on Kenya is evident in his efforts to maintain strong ties with African leaders, with his only phone call to a leader in sub-Saharan Africa last year being to President Ruto. This highlights the strategic importance of the US-Kenya partnership in addressing regional security challenges and promoting stability in Africa.

As Kenya awaits approval by the US Congress to become the 19th major non-NATO ally, this designation will further solidify the bond between the two nations and enhance their ability to address shared security concerns. By leveraging their mutual interests and commitments, the US and Kenya can work together to counter threats posed by extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Shabaab, support Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, and contribute to global efforts to reduce instability and insecurity.