The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how the growing Chinese presence in Kenya affects the United States’ international interests. In order to do this, we must look at how China was able to create such a presence, what the U.S. did or failed to do to alleviate this, Kenya’s view on both the U.S. and China, and if the U.S. would benefit from expanding or decreasing economic investments in the country.
While the United States has a long-standing foothold on the oil in Africa, China has been dominating the other natural resources available for the past 20 years (Bhorat 2013). Additionally, the current perception of President Obama in Kenya seems to have changed dramatically over the recent years. While much of the letdowns were due to high expectations on the Kenya’s population, the general consensus was that President Obama has not done much to help improve the current state of the Kenyan economy. The current programs in Africa are programs that were enacted or established by President's Clinton and George W. Bush (Mwangi 2013). This has allowed the Chinese government to move in and expand operations in the region.
It seems China’s interest in African countries is not in territorial occupation, but rather in international prominence and expanding its rapidly growing economic agenda. Kenya’s richness in commodities and weak commercial laws are an idealistic setting for rapid market entry, therefore China has been able to effortlessly influence and expand its mercantilist ambitions without distress of competition from the west. Even though the United States is focused in providing conditional aid to Kenya, the effects of Chinese expansion in Kenya on U.S. interest are alarming, for China is offering cold hard cash that is favored by the Kenyans. In addition to economic boosts, China seems to be supporting the prevention of poaching in the country.
The Chinese government has begun a campaign of to support Kenya’s conservation efforts. The Chinese government has implemented means to increase security and surveillance in the areas where poaching in most threatening to the elephant and rhino populations. This is something that the United States has not done in a long time. Instead of rebuilding the wavering opinions of the U.S., this has only worked to diminish them further. A course of action like this could lead to two different results. The U.S. can degrade its current relations with the country of Kenya or they can work to rebuild their relationship.
In order to accomplish the latter, President Obama would need to open negotiations for accessing some of these other natural resources. Accessing and developing these resources, along with current reevaluations of oil extraction, could open up a means to provide much needed jobs to the local populous. President Obama would need to ensure that he looks at Africa as a continent requiring different approaches when dealing with negotiations and aid assistance programs. The current policy...