Signal: Kenya faces defense investment challenges amid spending squeeze

Despite being one of East Africa’s economic leaders, Kenya’s military spending remains persistently low, with the country’s defense budget posting a negative compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.5% from 2019 to 2023. according to GlobalData analysis.

Kenya’s defense spending stood at $1.14 billion in 2019, falling to $1.12 billion by 2023, despite the country’s military requirements which appear to indicate the need to increase spending to meet the challenges it faces the Al Shabaab movement in neighboring Somalia and other internal threats. as well as participation in internal peacekeeping missions.

Defense spending was projected to increase slightly from 2023-2028, growing at a CAGR of 1.4% to reach $1.19 billion.

According to GlobalData, Kenya’s small defense budget “will act as a barrier for foreign investors” and with the budget not expected to grow significantly in the coming years, defense companies are likely to hold on to such sentiments for the near term.

Profitability of United Nations peacekeeping involvement

Kenya earns significant sums from its military’s participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions, first joining the Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group (UNIIMOG) from 1988-1990.

According to Kenya’s Ministry of Defense, the country’s military has since deployed troops to the UN Transition Assistance Team in Namibia, the UN Protection Force in Croatia, the two UN missions in Liberia (UNOMIL and UNMIL), the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur and the UN Mission in South Sudan .

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From GlobalData

UN figures from 2019 show that countries that volunteer uniformed personnel to peacekeeping operations are compensated by the UN at a standard rate, approved by the General Assembly, of $1,428 per soldier per month.

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