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Kenya - US Relations

The United States and Kenya have enjoyed cordial relations since Kenya's independence. Relations became even closer after Kenya's democratic transition of 2002 and subsequent improvements in civil liberties.

Approximately 15,000 U.S. citizens are registered with the U.S. Embassy as residents of Kenya. More than 100,000 Americans visited Kenya in 2010. About two-thirds of resident Americans are missionaries and their families. U.S. business investment primarily is in commerce, light manufacturing, and the tourism industry.

US military assistance to Kenya began in 1976 and was based upon US concerns about the threat posed to Kenya by its neighbors. In 1980, the United States signed a military agreement with Kenya obtaining access to Kenyan ports and airfields. The agreement complemented US security objectives for the Indian Ocean region, which were to contain Soviet influence in the region and ensure the continued flow of Persian Gulf oil. Since the 1990 Persian Gulf war, US access to ports and airfields in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries lessened US. dependence on Kenyan facilities. But maintaining access to Kenya remained a high priority given the use of Kenyan facilities by the US military to airlift humanitarian relief supplies into Somalia as well as continuing political and humanitarian challenges in the region.

Al Qaeda terrorists bombed the US Embassy in Nairobi on August 7, 1998, taking hundreds of lives and maiming thousands more. Since that event, the Kenyan and U.S. Governments have intensified cooperation to address all forms of insecurity in Kenya, including terrorism. The United States provides equipment and training to Kenyan security forces, both civilian and military. In its dialogue with the Kenyan Government, the United States urges effective action against corruption and insecurity as the two greatest impediments to Kenya achieving sustained, rapid economic growth.

US assistance to Kenya is substantial. It promotes broad-based economic development as the basis for continued progress in political, social, and related areas of national life. The U.S. assistance strategy is built around five broad objectives: advancing shared democratic values, human rights, and good governance; fighting disease and improving healthcare; fighting poverty and promoting private sector-led prosperity; cooperating to fight insecurity and terrorism; and collaborating to foster peace and stability in East Africa. The Peace Corps, which usually has about 150 volunteers in Kenya, is integral to the overall U.S. assistance strategy in Kenya.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. His father, Barack Obama Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. According to some reports, Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. was born at Coast Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya located in Coast Province. Obama’s father was a Kenyan citizen and Obama’s mother a United States citizen. Obama’s father, is a Luo, Kenya’s third-most-populous group.

Obama’s Kenyan grandmother, Sarah Obama has repeatedly stated Obama was born in Kenya and she was present during his birth. Bishop Ron McRae, who oversees the Anabaptists Churches in North America, and Reverend Kweli Shuhubia had the opportunity to interview Sarah Obama.

Reverend Kweli Shuhubia went to the home of Sarah Obama in October 2008 located in Kogello, Kenya. Reverend Kweli Shuhubia called Bishop McRae from Ms. Obama’s home and placed the call on speakerphone. Bishop McRae asked for permission to tape the conversation, which permission was granted. Because Ms. Obama only speaks Swahili, Reverend Kweli Shuhubia and another grandson of Ms. Obama’s, translated the telephone interview. Bishop McRae asked Ms. Obama where Defendant Barack Obama was born: Ms. Obama answered and was very adamant that Obama was born in Kenya. Obama continues to deny he was born in Kenya and states he was born in Hawaii.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kenya on 03 May 2015 for talks on security cooperation and ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to his late father’s home country. The trip to the east African nation was the first high-level visit since 2012, and came after years of tensions surrounding Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta being charged by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

President Barack Obama visits the country in July 2015.

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Page last modified: 22-07-2015 18:02:07 ZULU