Kenya is increasingly gaining a global profile. Over the last four years, the country has played host to a number of global leaders and has hosted a number of global events. This emerging global prominence, underpinned by an active foreign policy, is however occurring within a context of internal and external challenges and opportunities. Internal challenges such as high levels of government corruption and terrorist attacks have undermined both the global reputation and the economy of the country. Apart from the internal challenges, neighbouring states such as Ethiopia pose a threat to Kenya’s hegemonic aspirations. Using a qualitative approach and a case study design, this study seeks to better understand Kenya’s emerging global profile, and the foreign policy drivers that underpin it.
The argument presented in this study is that given the shifting regional context, Kenya’s increasing global profile is driven by a foreign policy, which is geared towards hegemonic ambitions within the Eastern African region. The study therefore operationalizes the contested concept of regional hegemony to understand whether Kenya is laying claims to be a regional hegemon in Eastern Africa or not. It is important that the study uses a context- specific and relevant conceptualisation of a regional hegemon in Africa. This is because of Africa’s marginalization within the global power architecture and the different regional dynamics, which vary from one region to another within Africa.
In the Eastern African Region, no single state possesses the power preponderance relative to global powers. However, power differentials among states in the region produce political, economic, and security dynamics that are separate from the international system. This subsequently qualifies the Eastern African Region as a sub-region, which requires its own analysis. The study however does not assert that Kenya is a regional hegemon in the Eastern Africa region. It rather seeks to establish whether the country is laying claim to hegemonic aspirations, its potential role and credentials, and whether the role claimed, and credentials displayed are consistent with this status.
Mini Dissertation (MDiplomatic Studies)--University of Pretoria, 2018.