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In my opinion Kenya is the most important country in East Africa. However, over much of the last decade and a half, Nairobi has not received a great deal of serious or sustained attention from senior American policymakers. Largely because of endemic corruption, serious human rights violations and a difficult transition to democratic rule in 1992, Kenya was treated very warily by American officials, a country to be quietly recognized and courted to achieve specific U.S. foreign policy objectives but not a country to be fully embraced and brought into America’s inner circle of new African partners.

About the Author

Johnnie Carson

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Bureau of African Affairs, Department of State
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Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more

Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more

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