Rising Kenyan defence spending to hit $5.5 billion by 2018


A new report says Kenya’s annual defence budget will grow from the US$4.3 billion recorded in the last few years to US$5.5 billion by 2018 as the country acquires helicopters, armoured vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and border surveillance and monitoring equipment.

Kenya is in the midst of a force modernisation programme aimed at equipping the armed forces to fight internal and external terrorism, arms smuggling, human trafficking and drug trafficking.

The report, entitled “The Future of the Kenyan Defence Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2018” says the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) capital expenditure budget will most likely increase from US$149 million this year to US$234.1 million by 2018, spurred by government initiatives to acquire more arms and ammunition.

The country has apportioned an average of 2.4% of its GDP for defence purposes over the review period, a cumulative figure of US$4.3 billion. During the forecast period, the defence budget is expected to be US$5.5 billion cumulatively.
“The country’s budget for homeland security (HLS) is projected to increase over the forecast period, driven by increasing threats from human trafficking, drug, and arms smuggling. Demand for equipment over the forecast period is mainly expected to revolve around helicopters, armoured vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance and monitoring equipment,” the report says.

Due to ongoing border tension and cross-border militia attacks which are blamed on Somali militants, Kenya is expected to acquire advanced surveillance equipment to secure the porous borders with South Sudan and Somalia.
“Kenya has been involved in a border dispute with Somalia over the last couple of years with Somali militant groups operating in Kenya’s remote and barren North Eastern Province. Counties in the Kenyan region such as Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera remain exposed to chronic instability making it difficult for local communities to lead a peaceful life. In 2010, extremist group Al-Shabaab attacked a Kenyan border patrol in Liboi, Lagdera…. Tensions between the two neighbouring nations heightened in 2012 following the discovery of offshore oil and gas deposits in East Africa, with both countries claiming to have ownership over the water zone.
“Furthermore, Kenya shares a long-standing strained relationship with South Sudan over the disputed land of IIemi Triangle in East Africa. During the forecast period, Kenya’s efforts to strengthen its border security are expected to lead to the procurement of advanced surveillance technology and equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and scanner (equipment) as well as better military training,” the report states.

The surge in Kenya’s requirement for border security equipment is also forecast to be driven by the endemic problem of human trafficking through Kenyan land and sea borders. It notes that international human traffickers use the land and sea borders of the country as departure and transit points for illegal immigrants from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and South Sudan to Europe and the Middle East.
“The country also acts as a transit point through which Chinese, Indian, and Pakistani women are taken to European countries to be pushed into illicit activities. Over the forecast period, the (Kenyan) government is expected to invest in strengthening its border security via the procurement of surveillance and monitoring equipment, both on land and along the coast, to control such activities,” the report reads.

However, during the forecast period the KDF will still have to import equipment – such as helicopters, armoured vehicles and UAVs – from foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) because the domestic defence industry is so underdeveloped that it has no capacity to grow to a point where it can meet the surge in demand within the next four years.