The Economic Diplomacy of Kenya’s Regional Interests

Image: Flickr, G.S. Matthews
Image: Flickr, G.S. Matthews

Increasing attractiveness of East Africa as a ‘frontier market’ has put Kenya in the spotlight as a gateway to the region. The country identifies six sectors and is currently implementing flagship projects to enhance its prospects.

Existing research is mainly concerned with descriptive studies of economic and commercial subjects within the East African context in terms of content and implementation of policy. There are very few attempts at directly linking these topics with the act of diplomacy. This paper is an exploratory attempt at connecting relevant issues within Kenya’s contemporary economic diplomacy in relation to its regional trade interests and the degree of political risk.

The Republic of Kenya is the regional hub for trade and finance in East Africa. Its economy, however, is constrained by effects of corruption and an overdependence on low-priced primary agricultural goods in world markets. Its foreign policy is actively directed toward the region through economic diplomacy in pursuit of its domestic development goals. As set out in Kenya Vision 2030: a Globally Competitive and Prosperous Country (‘Vision 2030’), the country seeks to achieve those targets within the next 18 years. Through a comprehensive analysis of its global competitiveness, Kenya has identified six important sectors to deliver the 10% annual economic growth rate regarded as a central to its economic development policy.

27 Feb 2013