Sahara: Time has come for Nairobi to give Algiers the boot

Sahara: Time has come for Nairobi to give Algiers the boot

Sensing an incoming shift in Kenya’s standing on Moroccan Sahara, Algeria’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf travelled on Monday to Nairobi in a bid to beg President William Ruto not to change course and support Morocco’s territorial integrity.


According to press reports, the Algerian desperate move comes amidst news that President Ruto is preparing his first visit to the North African Kingdom to open an embassy in the country and get Morocco’s support for Kenya’s fertilizer sector.


Morocco’s OCP Group, a global leader in plant nutrition and phosphate-based fertilizers, has already set up fertilizer plants in Ethiopia and Nigeria in partnership with these African countries to ensure their food security. Kenya also wants to benefit from Morocco’s experience in this field.


Last month, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita received a Kenyan envoy carrying a message from President Ruto to King Mohammed VI.

After he was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president on September 13, 2022, Mr. William Ruto had decided to withdraw his country’s recognition of the self-proclaimed SADR and close its representation in Nairobi. However, he backtracked the following day under the heavy pressure exerted by the Algerian rulers with their petrodollars.


Many experts are now wondering whether Kenya will bow again to Algiers pressure or rebuffed it as the influence of the Algerian regime is dwindling on the regional and international scene.


Algeria is actually suffering humiliating diplomatic setbacks over the Sahara issue and is embroiled in diplomatic crises with all its neighbors including Sahel countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina-Faso…) for its interference into their domestic affairs.


Kenya, a former British colony, is saddled with onerous debt, much of it borrowed to finance large infrastructure projects. Inflation is climbing, the currency continues to depreciate against the dollar and food and fuel prices are skyrocketing because of the war in Ukraine.


The East African country is located in a troubled region including Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The jihadist movement Al-Shabab, based in neighboring Somalia, has launched many attacks in Kenya, mostly in the north-east.


Kenya is also facing other pressing challenges such as high unemployment, droughts, crime, and poverty.

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