Kenya and Somalia share cultural and economic ties and common security interests which, if balanced, could benefit both countries and the Horn of Africa region. But the two states have had a turbulent relationship, and despite recent progress, rebuilding ties will be difficult until Somalia achieves some measure of political stability.
Several meetings in recent months aimed to restore diplomatic relations, which have reached a low point in the past few years. In May, three days after Kenya suspended all flights to and from Somalia, the countries’ leaders met at President Ismail Omar Gelle’s inauguration in Djibouti and again recently in London.
On 10 August, Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble travelled to Mombasa for talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and senior government officials. At the end of the meeting, they agreed to strengthen trade, people-to-people ties and movement, and collaborate on regional and international issues.
This positive development is generating a political mood among leaders in both countries for a rapprochement. It is fuelled by the need to stabilise ties and revitalise the ministerial technical committee for collaboration established by both states in 2015. The committee failed to take off due to constant disagreements between the countries, culminating in both their ambassadors and severing ties until recently.