Why are Egypt and Turkey competing for a military footing in Kenya?
On December 9, Egypt’s Arab Organization of Industrialization chairman, Lt. Gen. Abdel Moneim Al-Terras, hosted a Kenyan delegation led by Maj. Gen. Carlos Kahariri, director of the Kenya National Defense College.
For the first time, all parties committed to localizing Egypt’s weapons industry technologies in Kenya, as well as helping the local Kenyan sector at both the military and civil levels. Terras said that the organization would put all of its knowledge, people, and technical resources into collaboration and partnership with Kenya.
Egypt’s attempts to cooperate with Kenya extend beyond the military. During a press conference on December 5, Alaa al-Wakeel, chairman of the Africa Committee and a member of the Export Council for Food Industries’ Board of Directors, said that the council would organize a trade trip to Kenya in January.
Egypt, according to Maj. Gen. Mohamed al-Zallat, chairman of the Industrial Development Authority, wants to strengthen industrial cooperation with Kenya and establish economic connections between the two nations.
These Egyptian attempts come on the heels of similar Turkish efforts to enhance ties with Kenya.
On June 4, Turkey’s Qatamercilar for Defense Industries announced a deal to sell 118 four-wheel drive armored vehicles to Kenya, making the nation the third in Africa to buy Turkish armored vehicles.
According to Maj. Gen. Nasr Salem, former chief of the Armed Forces reconnaissance apparatus and counselor at Nasser Military Academy, Egypt has lately moved to promote weapon manufacture and sale overseas, as well as selling its military goods via EDEX 2021.
According to him, this is a new trend for Egypt in recent years, with the goal of penetrating African weapons markets.
Salem went on to say that Turkey’s success in selling drones and armored vehicles to African countries has pushed Egypt to follow suit. Ankara’s ambition of establishing a military and economic footing in the Horn of Africa endangers Egyptian national security, given the region’s critical relevance to the stability and passage of the Suez Canal.
On Aug. 18, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a military cooperation deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and on Oct. 17, an official Turkish source informed Reuters that Morocco and Ethiopia had filed formal requests to Turkey to acquire Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones. Sheikh Muhammad Akhtar, the chairman of the Kenyan Islamic Endowment, declared unequivocal support for Turkey, the Turkish people, and Erdogan on July 30.
According to Salem, Egypt’s foray into the Kenyan armaments market would help drown out Turkish influence and secure Kenya’s backing in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project. On November 27, the Ethiopian Minister of Water and Energy, Habtamu Itefa, stated that construction on GERD is continuing in accordance with the plan established to generate electricity as soon as possible, despite the fact that negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have been suspended for months.
Kenya is also seen as the US’s traditional ally in the Horn of Africa, especially given Ethiopia’s need for rebuilding after the war. As a result, gaining Kenya implies deeper reconciliation with Washington for Egypt. US President Joe Biden met Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta at the White House on October 12.
According to Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Awadi, chairman of the Egyptian parliament’s Defense Committee, the unprecedented Egyptian-Kenyan collaboration is part of Cairo’s aim to “help its brothers in the African continent and the Nile Basin nations.”
According to Awadi, Egypt’s attempts to strengthen connections with African nations in general, rather than only Kenya, are reflected in the recent military deal signed with numerous African governments.
Following the visit of Egyptian Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohamed Farid to Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, Egypt and Sudan inked a military cooperation agreement on March 2.
Egypt and Uganda inked a military intelligence cooperation agreement to share information on April 8 at the Ugandan intelligence headquarters in Kampala, the capital. Egypt also inked a military cooperation pact with Burundi on April 10.
More at: https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2021/12/egypt-turkey-compete-military-foothold-kenya#ixzz7FqwaTlWH
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