Military Cooperation: Washington makes Kenya a major ally

Military Cooperation: Washington makes Kenya a major ally

US President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that he would make Kenya a major non-NATO ally, the first sub-Saharan country to receive this status. The move marks a shift in U.S. security cooperation toward East Africa.

President William Ruto has traveled to Washington for an official state visit, a rare and significant distinction, differing from ordinary visits by foreign heads of state. However, he did not have the opportunity to address a joint session of Congress.

This visit coincides with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Kenya and the United States. Kenya thus becomes the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve major non-NATO ally status, and Ruto is the first African leader in 15 years to make a state visit to Washington.

This new status will allow the Kenyan army to receive more sophisticated weapons from the United States as part of the fight against terrorism. At the same time, the Biden administration has announced millions of dollars in trade and investments for Kenya in the coming years. Kenya could also provide weapons storage space for the United States if necessary.

This strengthening of relations symbolizes Kenya's growing recognition as a strategic ally of the United States in East Africa, particularly against the threat of Al-Shabaab in Somalia. For six years, Nairobi and Washington have elevated their ties to the level of strategic partnership.

Faced with the growing influence of China and Russia in the region, the Biden administration is seeking to reorganize its geopolitical interests, making Kenya a central player in its strategy in Africa. Kenya is also an active member of the 50-nation coalition supporting Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

While President Biden has yet to visit Africa, his administration appears determined to strengthen the U.S. presence on the continent. Relations between Kenya and the United States have evolved significantly since Kenya's independence in the 1960s.