Kenya’s Foreign Policy towards Ethiopia from 1963 to 2020
Wamalwa, Winrose Nafula
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Kenya and Ethiopia are two African states that vary in physical size, political capabilities, and economic stability. The two are sovereign states and members of the African Union and United Nations. They are separated by a mutual boundary; they face the same threats and they have mutual prospects. The two countries have been enjoying close bilateral relations since 1963 when Kenya attained independence. The general objective of the study was to analyze Kenya’s foreign policy towards Ethiopia from 1963 to 2020. This study had three objectives: To explore the nature of diplomatic relations between Kenya and Ethiopia from 1963 to 2020; to examine the factors behind Kenya and Ethiopia diplomatic relations from 1963 to 2020; and to analyze the extent to which fair and equitable bilateral trade relations between Kenya and Ethiopia have been promoted from 1963 to 2020. A comparison was made to analyze Kenya-Ethiopia diplomatic relations since 1963 to 2020 as determined by different presidents, and the influence that President Jomo Kenyatta’s era had to the diplomatic relations between 1963 and 1978 that impacted on the other regimes’ relations with Ethiopia. The study adopted the Realism Theory together with Allison’s Theory of Decision-making in international relations. This enabled the conceptualization of foreign policy as a meaningful perspective to guide state relations in the modern world. This study adopted an exploratory research design and purposive, snowball and stratified random sampling techniques were employed. Interview schedules research instruments were used to obtain data. A thematic approach was used in analyzing qualitative data and the statistical package for social sciences was employed in the analysis of quantitative data. This enabled a contemporary analysis of the available academic material and interstate reports to determine Kenya’s strategic advances towards Ethiopia. The findings showed that Kenya and Ethiopia have had cordial diplomatic relations over time though with some traces of tension. The cordial relations can be seen in the series of combined activities that the two states have engaged in such as joint cross border security enhancement initiatives, cross border trade, sending their troops to AMISOM with a view of stabilizing Somalia as well as spearheading peace talks in Sudan. Secondly, it was also found that the two states’ ties have been built on joint security, economic and economic factors. Lastly, it was also found that there were traces of tension as manifested by unfavorable investment policies especially by Ethiopia. In conclusion, it was recommended that the two states’ diplomatic ties can be enhanced further through continued trade and security engagements and that there was need for Kenya and Ethiopia to harmonize their investment policies as a roadmap to free and fair-trade relations.