Kenya to draw from US kitty to fight Shabaab

What you need to know:

  • President Uhuru Kenyatta had said that the international community was not doing enough to assist Kenya in the war on terror
  • President Obama said the initiative will also address issues such as drug, human, weapons and wildlife trafficking

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a joint Security Governance Initiative (SGI) between the US, Kenya and five other African countries.

The United States will commit $65 million for the first year of the joint endeavour, which will also benefit Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia.

President Obama said the SGI will offer a comprehensive and enhanced approach to improving security-sector governance and capacity to address incessant terror threats.

“These threats include terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and others, which remain active on the continent,” he said.

HINDERING PROGRESS

Making the announcement in Washington, DC, on the last day of the US-African leaders summit, President Obama said transnational and domestic security threats are hindering progress in Africa and his government had come up with multi-year funding commitments to support the new venture.

He said the initiative will also address issues such as drug, human, weapons and wildlife trafficking which “tear at the security fabric and help fund criminal, and in some cases, extremist activities.”

His announcement comes a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the international community was not doing enough to assist Kenya in the war on terror.

In an interview with CNN in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Mr Kenyatta said terrorism was not country-specific but a global problem.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING

Tuesday, Mr Obama said each of the six countries in the new programme had demonstrated partnership with the United States, expressed a desire to strengthen its security sector and committed to the core elements of the initiative.

“In the subsequent years, the United States will provide additional funding commensurate with maturing program needs and expansion to additional countries,” he said.

A statement sent to the Daily Nation from the White House on Thursday stated that the SGI aims to improve the capacity “to protect civilians and confront challenges and threats, with integrity and accountability.”

Said the statement; “To execute the initiative and ensure maximum effectiveness of U.S. assistance, the United States will form a dedicated SGI team to be housed at the Department of State with support from the Department of Defense, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security.”

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