Foreign relations of Kenya

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Coat of arms of Kenya (Official).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Kenya
Foreign relations

Kenya maintains relations with various countries around the world. Its closest ties are with its fellow Swahili-speaking neighbors in the African Great Lakes region. Relations with Uganda and Tanzania are generally strong, as the three nations work toward economic and social integration through common membership in the East African Community.


Kenya's relations with other states vary. The government of Ethiopia established political links in the colonial period with Kenya's then British administration, and today it is one of several national bodies with a diplomatic presence in Nairobi. Relations with Somalia have historically been tense, although there has been some military co-ordination against insurgents.

Elsewhere, the Kenyan government has political ties with China, India, Russia, and Brazil. It also maintains relations with Western countries, particularly the United Kingdom, although political and economic instabilities are often blamed on Western activities (e.g. colonialism, paternalistic engagement, and post-colonial resource exploitation).

Africa[edit]

Country Formal relations established Notes
 Algeria
 Botswana
  • Botswana has a high commission in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has a high commission in Gaborone.
 Burundi
  • Burundi has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Bujumbura.
 Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • DR Congo has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Kinshasa.
 Egypt
  • Egypt has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Cairo.
 Ethiopia

Relations between Kenya and Ethiopia date back to 1954, when the Ethiopian authorities under Haile Selassie I established an honorary consulate general in the British Kenya Colony. In 1961, prior to Kenya's independence, Ethiopia appointed its first ambassador to Kenya, and six years later Kenya opened an embassy in Addis Ababa.[1]

The border between the two countries is based on a treaty signed by Ethiopia and Kenya on 9 June 1970, which determines the present-day boundary, abrogating all previous boundary treaties. This border has been subjected to demarcation.[2]

  • Ethiopia has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Addis Ababa.
 Ghana
  • Ghana has a high commission in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Ghana from its high commission in Abuja, Nigeria.
 Namibia
  • Kenya has a high commission in Windhoek.
  • Namibia is accredited to Kenya from its high commission in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
 Nigeria
  • Kenya has a high commission in Abuja.
  • Nigeria has a high commission in Nairobi.
 Rwanda
  • Kenya has an embassy in Kigali.
  • Rwanda has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Somalia

Relations between Kenya and Somalia have historically been tense. Agitations over self-determination in the Somali-inhabited Northern Frontier District culminated in the Shifta War during the 1960s.[3] Although the conflict ended in a cease-fire, Somalis in the region still identify and maintain close ties with their kin in Somalia.[4]

In October 2011, a coordinated operation between the Somali military and the Kenyan military began against the Al-Shabaab group of insurgents in southern Somalia.[5][6] The mission was officially led by the Somali army, with the Kenyan forces providing a support role.[6] In early June 2012, Kenyan troops were formally integrated into AMISOM.[7]

  • Kenya has an embassy in Mogadishu.
  • Somalia has an embassy in Nairobi.
 South Africa
  • Kenya has a high commission in Pretoria.
  • South Africa has a high commission in Nairobi.
 South Sudan
  • Kenya has an embassy in Juba.
  • South Sudan has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Sudan
  • Kenya has an embassy in Khartoum.
  • Sudan has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Tanzania
  • Kenya has a high commission in Dar-es-Salaam.
  • Tanzania has a high commission Nairobi and a consulate-general in Mombasa.
 Uganda

From 1961 to 1965 the two states, along with Tanzania, were united in the East African Common Services Organization, a common market with a loose federal structure.[8]

  • Kenya has a high commission in Kampala.
  • Uganda has a high commission in Nairobi.
 Zambia
  • Kenya has a high commission in Lusaka.
  • Zambia has a high commission in Nairobi.
 Zimbabwe
  • Kenya has an embassy in Harare.
  • Zimbabwe has an embassy in Nairobi.


Americas[edit]

Country Formal relations established Notes
 Argentina
  • Argentina has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Argentina from its embassy in Brasília, Brazil.
 Brazil
  • Brazil has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Brasília.
 Canada
  • Canada has a high commission in Nairobi.[9]
  • Kenya has a high commission in Ottawa.[10]
 Chile
  • Chile has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Chile from its embassy in Brasília, Brazil.
 Colombia
  • Colombia has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Colombia from its embassy in Brasília, Brazil.
 Costa Rica
  • Costa Rica has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya does not have an accreditation to Costa Rica.
 Cuba
  • Cuba has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Havana.
 Mexico 15 March 1977
  • Kenya is represented in Mexico from its embassy in Washington, DC.[11]
  • Mexico has an embassy in Nairobi.[12]
 United States 12 December 1963

After Kenya's independence on 12 December 1963, the United States immediately recognized the new nation and moved to establish diplomatic relations. The embassy in Nairobi was opened on 12 December 1963.

 Venezuela
  • Kenya is accredited to Venezuela from its embassy in Brasília, Brazil.
  • Venezuela has an embassy in Nairobi.

Asia[edit]

Country Formal relations established Notes
 Armenia Both countries established diplomatic relations on 13 July 1993.
 China

Chinese-Kenyan relations date back to 14 December 1963, two days after the formal establishment of Kenyan independence, when China became the fourth country to open an embassy in Nairobi.[14] Military exchange between the two countries has been increasing in the past decade. General Liu Jingsong, commander of the Lanzhou Military Region, led China's first military delegation to Kenya in December 1996; Major General Nick Leshan, commander of the Kenyan air force, paid a return visit in 1997.[15] Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki visited Beijing in August 2005.[16]

  • China has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Beijing.
 India
  • India has a High Commission in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has a High Commission in New Delhi.
 Iran
  • Iran has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Tehran.
 Israel
 Japan
  • Japan has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Tokyo.
 Malaysia
  • Kenya has a high commission in Kuala Lumpur.
  • Malaysia has a high commission in Nairobi.
 Oman
  • Kenya has an embassy in Muscat.
  • Oman has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Pakistan

Relations between Pakistan and Kenya were established in the 1960s, when Pakistan expressed its support for Kenya in obtaining independence from British rule. Ever since, relations between the two nations have been warm; with both countries having had discussed previously in the Pakistan-Kenya Joint Ministerial Commission session which was hosted in Nairobi in 2004, about boosting bilateral trade and economic relations.[19]

  • Kenya has a high commission in Islamabad.
  • Pakistan has a high commission in Nairobi.
 Philippines

The Philippines and Kenya have forged a historic agreement to strengthen ties between both countries. Under a Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation(JCBC)[20]

  • Kenya is accredited to the Philippines from its embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • the Philippines has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Qatar
  • Kenya has an embassy in Doha.
  • Qatar has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Saudi Arabia
  • Kenya has an embassy in Riyadh.[21]
  • Saudi Arabia has an embassy in Nairobi.[22]
 South Korea 7 February 1964[23]

Diplomatic relations between the South Korea and Kenya were established on 7 February 1964.[23]

 Turkey
  • Kenya has an embassy in Ankara.
  • Turkey has an embassy in Nairobi.
 United Arab Emirates
  • Kenya has an embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate-general in Dubai.
  • United Arab Emirates has an embassy in Nairobi.


Europe[edit]

Country Formal relations established Notes
 Austria
  • Austria has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Vienna.
 Belgium
  • Belgium has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Brussels.
 Denmark
  • Denmark has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Denmark from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
 Finland
  • Finland has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya is accredited to Finland from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
 France
  • France has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Paris.
 Germany
  • Germany has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Berlin.
 Greece
  • Greece has an embassy in Nairobi and an honorary consulate in Mombasa.
  • Kenya is accredited to Greece from its embassy in Rome, Italy and maintains an honorary consulate in Athens.

Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs about relations with Kenya
Consulate of the Republic of Kenya in Hellenic Republic

 Ireland
  • Ireland has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Dublin.
 Italy
  • Italy has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Rome.
 Norway
  • Kenya is accredited to Norway from its embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Norway has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Poland
  • Kenya is accredited to Poland from its embassy in Rome, Italy.
  • Poland has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Russia
  • Russia has an embassy in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has an embassy in Moscow.
 Spain
  • Kenya has an embassy in Madrid.
  • Spain has an embassy in Nairobi.
 Sweden
  • Kenya has an embassy in Stockholm.
  • Sweden has an embassy in Nairobi.
 United Kingdom

In 1895, Britain established the East Africa Protectorate (British East Africa), centred in present-day Kenya and the larger African Great Lakes region. Four years later, the British founded the settlement of Nairobi as a simple rail depot on the railway linking Mombasa to Uganda.[24] The town quickly grew to become the capital of British East Africa in 1905, with Lieutenant Colonel J. Hayes Sadler as the first governor and commander in chief.

In 1920, the East Africa Protectorate was transformed into a British crown colony, the Kenya Colony. In 1952, the present Queen, Elizabeth II, ascended the throne while visiting Kenya on her and the Duke of Edinburgh's tour of the British Empire and Commonwealth. Two years later, Britain founded the Nairobi Securities Exchange as a voluntary association of stockbrokers in the European community registered under the Societies Act.

Kenya was granted independence in 1963, and relations with Britain have remained constant. Kenya is a part of the Commonwealth of Nations, a successor to the empire which aims to promote mutual co-operation, democracy and other cultural values and ties with each member state.

  • Kenya has a high commission in London.[25]
  • the United Kingdom has a high commission in Nairobi.[26]


Oceania[edit]

Country Formal relations established Notes
 Australia
  • Australia has a high commission in Nairobi.
  • Kenya has a high commission in Canberra.
 New Zealand
  • Kenya is accredited to New Zealand from its high commission in Canberra.
  • New Zealand is accredited to Kenya from its embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Kenya and the Commonwealth of Nations[edit]

Kenya has been a member state of the Commonwealth of Nations since 1963, when it became independent. The nation became a Commonwealth republic in 1964.

Kenya is also a member of the UN and hosts the UN Office in Nairobi, which is the UN Headquarters in Africa.[27] The office was established in 1996.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ethiopia – Kenya relations" Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine., Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (accessed 9 October 2009)
  2. ^ "Ethiopia – Kenya Boundary" Archived 18 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine., U.S. State Department International Boundary Study, No. 152 – 15 October 1975
  3. ^ Rhoda E. Howard, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: 1986), p.95
  4. ^ Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenya: identity of a nation, (Godfrey Mwakikagile: 2007), p.79.
  5. ^ "Somalia government supports Kenyan forces' mission". Standardmedia.co.ke. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012.
  6. ^ a b Joint Communique – Operation Linda Nchi
  7. ^ "Kenya: Defense Minister appointed as acting Internal Security Minister". Garowe Online. 19 June 2012. Archived from the original on 30 November 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  8. ^ East Africa Living Encyclopedia Kenya – Foreign Relations
  9. ^ High Commission of Canada in Nairobi (in English and French)
  10. ^ High Commission of Kenya in Ottawa
  11. ^ a b Embassy of Kenya in Washington, DC
  12. ^ Embassy of Mexico in Nairobi (in Spanish)
  13. ^ US embassy in Nairobi Archived 27 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Kenya, China Mark 40-year Diplomatic Ties". Xinhua News Agency. 11 December 2003. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  15. ^ "Kenya: Bilateral Relations". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China. 12 October 2003. Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  16. ^ "China to promote cooperation with Kenya: Chinese premier". People's Daily. 19 August 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-07.
  17. ^ Israeli embassy in Nairobi
  18. ^ Kenyan embassy in Tel Aviv
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2011. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  20. ^ In the full history find out wiki page on Foreign relations of the Philippines
  21. ^ Embassy of Kenya in Riyadh
  22. ^ Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Nairobi (in Arabic and English)
  23. ^ a b http://www.mofa.go.kr/ENG/countries/middleeast/countries/20070804/1_24494.jsp?menu=m_30_50
  24. ^ Roger S. Greenway, Timothy M. Monsma, Cities: missions' new frontier, (Baker Book House: 1989), p.163.
  25. ^ High Commission of Kenya in London
  26. ^ High Commission of the United Kingdom in Nairobi
  27. ^ "Welcome to the United Nations Office at Nairobi | The United Nations Office at Nairobi". www.unon.org. Retrieved 2018-01-12.

External links[edit]