Djibouti (HAN) March 14th, 2019. Public Diplomacy and Regional Security. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said last year “We built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa… we should build our naval force capacity in the future.”
Kenya said it will also seek France’s commitment in the fight against terrorism, specifically on whether it can support the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). Kenya sent troops of the Kenya Defence Forces to Somalia in 2011 to help restore peace and stability.
Two years ago, the European Union reduced Amisom’s funding, citing other security commitments. Diplomats in Nairobi think France’s influence played a role in the diversion of those funds to the Sahel region, where the French military has combated insurgents.
“Kenya may lobby France to support the EU’s continued financing of Amisom operations until Somali security forces are able to take over the responsibilities in accordance with the decision of the summit of troop contributing countries,” the briefing notes, referring to the meeting in March 2018, when they agreed to progressively pull out from 2020.
Update: Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said the tour reflects “soaring” cordial relations “based on shared principles and values relating to democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights.”
“The State visit will consolidate the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries,” she said.
President Emmanuel Macron of France vowed to establish security and environment cooperation between his country and Kenya as he kicked off the third and last leg of his East African tour that brought him to Djibouti and Ethiopia.
“We want to improve cooperation in the region from the security and defense point of view,” Macron said after meeting with his host President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The French leader began Wednesday a two-day visit to Africa’s second most populated country and one of the continent fast growing economic markets. He is the first French President to visit Kenya since it gained independence in 1960.
Kenya has experienced a series of terror attacks this year and over the past years from Somali-based al-Shabaab militants.
In January this year, members of the militant group staged coordinated attacks that killed 14 people in capital Nairobi.
Kenya is part of the UN-backed African multinational forces backing the fragile Somalian government in battle against the al-Qaeda-linked group.
After meeting with Kenyatta, Macron inaugurated a new Peugeot 3008 SUV assembly plant, local media Leader Post reports.
Macron said during the inauguration ceremony that through the new factory, France wants to be part of Kenya’s new growth agenda.
The French President who will chair on Friday the UN-backed One Planet Summit said France will work closely with Kenya on green energy. The African country delivered “tremendous results in the fight against climate change,” he pointed out.