Security Challenges Changed Uganda’s Plan of Passing an Oil Pipeline Through Kenya

Kenya mapKenya and Tanzania are very close countries in the eastern part of Africa. These two countries are interlocked by Uganda, thereby making the three countries form a bow-like piece of land with Burundi and Rwanda filling the remaining small portion.

The inter-trade relationship of these three countries is one of the strongest. The trade relationship is very strong between Uganda and Kenya because they share Swahili as a common language.

But it looks like Uganda will no longer be passing an oil pipeline through Kenya its East African trade partner, allegedly due to Islāmic terrorist activities that make for security challenges.

EAC
EAC Photo/Africanliberty.org

Even though Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda are members of the East Africa Community (EAC), who share similarities in culture and also have loose policies in terms of business establishments among members, Uganda always makes Kenya a likelier pick for trade or any economically related cooperation.

In the year 2013, Kenya exported goods worth 632 million euros to Uganda as one of their largest exportation partners for that year and Uganda also had the total figure of 776 million euros making the mutual relationship between the two nations tight.

UGANDAUganda concluded a plan to pass a major pipeline through Kenya, to enjoy joint facility and trade strength as usual. But a change occurred as one of the major firms who have the license for oil exportation from Uganda questioned the activities of Islāmic terrorists in Kenya. Total Oil believed that the Islāmic culture that is accepted in Kenya would possibly allow terrorists greater opportunity to destabilize oil pipes from Uganda. In addition, there seemed to be pressure from the involvement of other firms of the “west” in the process of mining and exportation of the oil.

Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Foreign Minister announced that his government decided to pass the oil pipeline through Tanzania’s Tanga port, for international trade purposes instead. He also pointed out that Kenya’s Lamu port that is under construction is another factor that may have a negative impact on the future of Uganda’s international oil trade as it may delay the commencement of the business.

It’s believed that Kenya as a result of this change will checkmate its security policy.