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Ahmed Muhumed Abdi - Masters of Arts in International Studies, Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies, University of Nairobi, Kenya


Many African countries have been unable to build up any firm tradition or established pattern of interests behind their foreign policy. African states’ foreign policies are influenced mainly by the global political economy. The overall objective of the study was to examine the determinants of foreign policy formulation in developing countries in relevance to Kenya. Specifically the study aimed; to assess the role of stakeholders in ensuring successful foreign policy formulation, to investigate the external factors influencing foreign policy formulation in developing countries and to investigate whether there is foreign policy shift of Kenya to the East. The study took a multi-method approach which incorporates primary and secondary research of foreign and economic policies since these are likely to be often interlinked. Content analysis laid the foundation of understanding and provided the background behind many of the contemporary issues which Kenya face. It included texts outlining the history, conflicts and signed treaties. Policy papers and speeches, as well as conference and academic papers on the subject were also examined.  Additional reports and statistics were gathered from the IMF, World Bank, and the UN. A cross sectional survey was used while purposive sampling was done, culminating in samples taken from foreign policy decision units, and individuals from these units. The primary research was supplemented by semi-structured face to face interviews with selected key informants in form of representatives such as diplomats, ambassadors, high profile academics, and other government representatives. The study found the way foreign policy decisions are made is influenced by a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, the rationality of the decision-makers, an issue much explored with reference to cognition, bureaucratic competition, public opinion, and domestic politics. Foreign policy decision-making is of course also influenced by systemic factors, such as the international power structure. Although these factors are important in their own respect, this study’s objective was to assess how foreign policy formulation proceeds in the context of Kenya’s democratisation. In other words, who shapes foreign policy in Kenya and how has the transition from authoritarianism to democracy impacted upon the foreign policy decision-making process. The study recommends that Kenya should show more political will and work towards strengthening the EAC using its regional economic leadership by advocating for member countries to open up more industries in the capital and also providing opportunities for the member countries small and medium enterprises to grow. This therefore means that Kenya should carry on with its cordial relations through friendly and realistic policies towards other nations. It is also recommended that Kenya should encourage other nations to engage more in Kenya through the joint ventures.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)