Economy

Kenya signs Sh9.8bn armoured cars deal with Turkish firm

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is welcomed by his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta upon his arrival on June 2, 2016 at the State House in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | SIMON MAINA

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Summary

  • The new acquisitions signal President Kenyatta’s resolve to continue upgrading Kenya’s military capabilities despite a recent push for austerity.
  • In 2015, Kenya expanded its APC stockpile with the purchase of 30 carriers from China for Sh7.9 billion, which were deployed for police border patrols.
  • Kenya does not make public its military purchases and only Parliament is mandated to scrutinise expenditure by security organs.

Kenya has signed a deal worth Sh9.87 billion with Turkish armoured vehicles manufacturer Katmerciler for new armoured fighting vehicles, its largest single order for such vehicles in several years.

Turkish firm Katmerciler made the disclosure in a regulatory filing on Wednesday filed with the Turkish stock exchange the Borsa Istanbul.

The defence contract for 118 new armoured military vehicles is expected to strengthen Kenya’s armed forces, in the latest effort to boost its capacity in the war on terrorism.

The vehicles, whose deliveries are planned for next year with the full order to be completed in 2023, will be deployed for counter-terror operations against the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group, the Kenya Defence Forces said earlier.

The vehicles, which can carry up to nine personnel, are equipped with special elements to protect troops from a landmine or improvised explosive devices.

The Turkish manufacturer said the new vehicles can be used for combat, command and control, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence, weapon carrier, ambulance, border security, and reconnaissance.

“The Hizirs will provide the Kenyan troops protective mobility wherever they are deployed,” said a Katmerciler official.

Katmerciler defeated South African and North American rivals for the lucrative contract.

Nairobi has recently been keen to strengthen its security and trade ties with Istanbul in the face of growing terrorism threats.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last month met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey during the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.

Kenya has suffered a spate of deadly bomb and gun attacks on civilians and soldiers by militants who are demanding the removal of Kenyan troops from war-torn Somalia.

Nairobi has consistently upgraded its military hardware in recent years, stoking fears of an arms race in the region.

The Kenyan army has in the past been faulted over its conduct in the wake of terror attacks, including at Nairobi’s Westgate Shopping Mall and Garissa University College.

The new acquisitions signal President Kenyatta’s resolve to continue upgrading Kenya’s military capabilities despite a recent push for austerity.

In 2015, Kenya expanded its APC stockpile with the purchase of 30 carriers from China for Sh7.9 billion, which were deployed for police border patrols.

Kenya does not make public its military purchases and only Parliament is mandated to scrutinise expenditure by security organs.

Some of Kenya’s largest expenditure items are, however, revealed through other international sources.