Kenya, US pledge to degrade terror group Al-Shabaab

Monica Juma
Foreign Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya and the United States agreed on Wednesday to take a series of steps to deepen their economic ties, promote opportunities for US businesses and enhance their joint efforts to “degrade Al-Shabaab.”

The initiatives were announced in a statement issued by the two countries at the conclusion of their two-day “bilateral strategic dialogue” in Washington.

The statement offered few details on new undertakings resulting from the discussions led by Foreign Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and senior State Department officials.

In regard to security matters, for example, the statement said “the United States commended the sacrifice of the Kenya Defence Forces in Somalia,” but it used only general terms to describe future initiatives.

“Both sides committed to enhance counterterrorism, defence, and maritime surveillance security co-operation through intelligence sharing and capacity building,” the statement said.


It added: “The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to degrade al-Shabaab and agreed to work with UN Security Council partners to sanction al-Shabaab and other terror groups operating in the Horn of Africa.”

In the economic sphere, Kenya and the US said they would “accelerate bilateral talks to expand cargo opportunities” under the existing Open Skies Agreement between the two countries.

The statement also made reference to a pair of projects being launched by the US Trade and Development Agency intended to help US firms invest in Kenya.

The US trade agency will soon host meetings between Kenyan officials and US business executives focused on emergency management and communications systems.

“The visit occurs as the government of Kenya seeks to upgrade the country’s emergency communications systems and improve responses to natural disasters in remote areas,” the Trade agency said in a separate statement. “US companies have cutting-edge technologies that can meet these needs, which will be featured throughout the visit.”

Kenyan officials will also be coming to Washington to learn about the Trade agency's Global Procurement Initiative. It seeks to assist public procurement entities in developing countries to better determine the full costs of goods and services over the entire life cycle of a contract.