East African region will benefit from strategic trust

Posted on July 3, 2014 09:07 am

As the centre of economic gravity shifts from the North Africa to the South of Sahara, East African region is gaining geopolitical importance. As countries in the region register faster economic growth, the competition for resources will become more intense. Economic growth in this sense can be a double-edged sword. As nations jostle for an edge, territorial disputes can take on greater importance and the potential for conflict will rise in tandem. It is therefore of great urgency that the countries that make up the East African region build what is known is a strategic trust. This will not be easy, but as the Australia and New Zealand have demonstrated for decades, such trust is priceless in creating understanding and mutual interest. Building strategic trust is vitally important especially in the horn of Africa, where several countries have ongoing territorial disputes. The potential for conflict as a result of these disputes should not be underestimated.

Defence officials and analysts from horn of Africa and so called Great Lakes countries have long warned that the region’s main challenge in promoting regional and international security was how to build “strategic trust” among countries in the region.When two or more parties begin to have faith regarding the goodwill and intentions of the other, then strategic trust is set in place. This has been demonstrated by Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda the so called ‘coalition of the willing.This will enable them to cooperate more, to invest in one another, to trust their instincts and to exert more efforts for peace but that has not been seen with other countries in the region. One immediate step to ensuring that all parties concerned share the same goals would be for each country to sign the Code of Conduct for behavior in the region. They should also finalise sooner rather than later such strategic partnerships so that the region can continue to enjoy growth and stability for the foreseeable future.

Contador Harrison