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HomeNewsPresident Biden seeks to designate Kenya as non-NATO ally: What it Means

President Biden seeks to designate Kenya as non-NATO ally: What it Means

President Biden seeks to designate Kenya as non-NATO ally: What it Means

Kenya’s President William Ruto is set to embark on a three-day state visit to Washington, United States. During this visit, sources indicate that Kenya will be granted Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status.

This designation marks a significant milestone, as Kenya will become the first sub-Saharan nation to receive such status. It further solidifies the longstanding 60-year relationship between the two countries.

With MNNA status, Kenya gains access to substantial military and economic benefits from the US. This includes closer security cooperation, aimed at addressing threats such as the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Additionally, there are plans for Kenya to contribute 1000 officers to a UN-backed mission in Haiti.

J. Peter Pham, a former senior Africa official in the Trump administration, emphasized the longstanding ties between the US and Kenya. He stated that Kenya’s case for MNNA status is strong, given the historical relationship between the two nations.

This move not only strengthens security cooperation but also enhances America’s presence in Africa. It comes at a time when China is actively expanding its influence on the continent.

For the US, Kenya’s alignment is strategically advantageous due to its robust economy, which has a significant impact on East Africa’s economic landscape.

Non-NATO ally status

An MNNA status, as defined by U.S. law, grants foreign partners specific benefits about defense trade and security cooperation.

The MNNA designation signifies the strong bond between the United States and the countries receiving it, showcasing profound appreciation for their friendship.

Nations granted this status enjoy military and financial perks, albeit without the mutual defense obligations outlined in Article 5 of the NATO treaty.

To confer MNNA status, the U.S. President must inform Congress of the intent to designate a country as such; if Congress raises no objections within 30 days, the designation takes effect.

Nations under this status enjoy privileges such as;

  • Eligible for loans of material, supplies, or equipment for cooperative research, development, testing, or evaluation purposes.
  • Eligible as a location for U.S.-owned War Reserve Stockpiles to be placed on its territory outside of U.S. military facilities.
  • Can enter into agreements with the US for the cooperative furnishing of training on a bilateral or multilateral basis, if the financial arrangements are reciprocal and provide for reimbursement of all U.S. direct costs.
  • Eligible for priority delivery of Excess Defense Articles transferred under section 516 of the Foreign Assistance Act (if located on the southern or south-eastern flank of NATO).
  • Eligible for consideration to purchase depleted uranium ammunition.

Currently, there are 18 countries with MNNA status which include Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia.

NATO Allies

NATO, comprising 32 sovereign member countries referred to as NATO Allies convenes to address political and security concerns and reach collective agreements through consensus.

The inception of NATO dates back to April 4, 1949, marked by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty (Washington Treaty) by its 12 founding members.

These founding members include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

President Biden seeks to designate Kenya as non-NATO ally: What it Means