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Military benefits Kenya will enjoy after recognition as a non-NATO ally by U.S.

Kenya is the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to get the recognition and the third in Africa after Egypt and Tunisia

President William Ruto and U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House during Ruto's U.S. state visit
  • Kenya is the first country in Sub-Saharan Africa to be designated as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA
  • MNNA status indicates a significant strategic and security partnership with the United States
  • The designation allows Kenya access to military technologies and various economic benefits

During Kenyan President William Ruto's recent three-day visit to the United States, President Joe Biden announced that Kenya would be designated as a major non-NATO ally (MNNA).

This makes Kenya the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to receive this status, which Biden described as a culmination of years of collaborative efforts between the two nations.

A major non-NATO ally is a country that, while not a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), maintains a significant strategic and security partnership with the United States.

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This designation indicates a high level of trust but does not involve the mutual defense obligations that come with full NATO membership.

The MNNA status confers various economic and military benefits. While it does not entail any security commitments, it allows Kenya access to military technologies that are typically difficult to acquire.

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According to the U.S. Department of State, additional benefits include eligibility for loans of materials and equipment for research and development, the placement of U.S.-owned War Reserve Stockpiles on Kenyan territory, and the potential purchase of depleted uranium ammunition.

Kenyan firms will also be able to bid on contracts for repairing and maintaining U.S. Department of Defense equipment outside the United States.

Despite these advantages, the designation does not guarantee new defence agreements or weapon sales between Kenya and the United States.

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Currently, 18 other countries hold the MNNA status, including Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia.

Established in the aftermath of World War II in 1949, NATO was created to promote mutual defence and protect the freedom and security of its member countries.

Over the decades, NATO has evolved to address new security challenges and continues to play a vital role in global peacekeeping and cooperative defence efforts.

The fundamental principles of NATO are enshrined in Article 5 of the treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more members in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.

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This principle of collective defence has only been invoked once, following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

NATO's membership has grown significantly since its inception, expanding to include 32 countries as of 2024

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