NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed met on Thursday amid a mounting urgency to get the war-torn nation back on its own two feet.
The two leaders were expected to discuss how the country’s own security apparatus can be strengthened to the point where foreign intervention is no longer necessitated given the African Union Mission in Somalia draw-down is scheduled to begin in 2018.
“The President will speak to the fact that AMISOM draw-down, scheduled to begin in 2018, means that we need to scale up the efforts to build the Somalia national security architecture and strengthen the security apparatus to facilitate a smooth handover,” President Kenyatta’s spokesman Manoah Esipisu said in the run up to Mohamed visit.
Following an appeal by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the international community to support the rebuilding of the nation’s institutions, the two leaders are expected to strategise to that end ahead of the international community meet on Somalia to be held in London on May 11.
Given the new administration, there will be an IGAD Summit in Nairobi on Saturday to see how the stabilisation of Somalia can further be expedited, especially as Kenya seeks to close the largest refugee camp in the world, Dadaab, which hosts hundreds of thousands of Somali nationals.
There is also concern that as the US and Europe adopt more nationalistic policies, the financial burden for AMISOM and similar peacekeeping missions on the continent will rest heavier on the African Union.
This, despite assurances from Britain that the stability of the Horn of Africa remains a priority as stressed by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on his recent visits to both Somalia and Kenya.
“With regard to the cuts made by the EU, we fought against that, we didn’t agree with that but it went through despite our opposition. But for us, leaving the European Union as an organisation won’t change our view, this area matters. Its security matters. It may be a few thousand kilometres from the UK but we know how important it is to keep security here,” Britain’s Commonwealth Minister Baroness Joyce Anelay told Capital FM News last month.
Beyond security, Mohamed and President Kenyatta are also expected to discuss how the two countries can forge an economic partnership to reckon with.
“These include cooperation in fields such as Security, Trade and investment, Civil Aviation, Education, Agriculture, Resources sharing and development, Livestock Development, Fisheries, Tourism, Immigration, Labour and Health,” Esipisu said.