Kenya and the UK have signed a five-year Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) to tackle shared threats across East Africa.
The two countries signed the agreement in a side event during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day Guest of Government visit to the UK.
Kenya’s CS for Defence, Dr Monica Juma, and UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, signed the new DCA on Tuesday evening at the Ministry of Defence offices in London.
The agreement will anchor the defence priorities between the two nations over the next five years.
The signing of the DCA comes six months after the two defence secretaries met in Nairobi, agreeing on a refreshed Security Compact to deepen wider stability and security cooperation, part of the Kenya-UK strategic partnership. The new DCA, once ratified by the Kenyan and UK Parliaments, will allow our militaries to share expertise, experience and techniques, making both forces more effective.
“It was great to meet Dr Monica Juma again today. We held very fruitful discussions and agreed on a range of measures to keep both of our countries safer. Kenya has long been our defence partner of choice in East Africa and, in a more uncertain world, we will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as we tackle the threats of tomorrow,” Mr Wallace said.
“The framework underpinning this strategic relationship is the Defence Cooperation Agreement which has become an invaluable tool for enhancing the competencies of our defence forces. Overall our cooperation continues to significantly improve the ability of our forces to operate effectively in high-threat environments,” Dr Juma said.
Under the current agreement, the UK has provided an annual training of over 1,100 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers, with courses in the UK, or with UK military training teams in Kenya.
Further training has also been provided through the UK-funded Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Wing at the Humanitarian Peace Support School (HPSS) in Embakasi.
Since its opening in 2016, over 2,000 military and police from 22 countries have been trained in C-IED skills and 40 C-IED instructors developed, significantly improving the ability of African Union (AU) forces to operate effectively in high-threat environments, including against Al Shabaab.
The UK has also provided extensive support to infrastructure projects at the KDF’s School of Infantry, which include an urban village, a Forward Operating Base (FOB), and an assault course, all which prepare more than 600 KDF personnel for deployment in the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). The UK has been supporting Amisom Troop contributing countries since 2010, through the Short Term Training Teams (STTTs) from the British Army, which costs Ksh43 million (about $395,948) annually.
Last month, the UK handed over a multipurpose training facility to the Kenyan Navy with firefighting equipment alongside the Danish government. The facility will also be available to other maritime agencies to conduct their firefighting and sea survival training, which is essential for deployment at sea. This will go a long way in helping the Kenyan Navy progress towards becoming a centre of excellence in maritime safety.