Jump to navigation

Terrorism and cyber fraud targeted as FBI chief lands in Africa

Visit to Kenya and Nairobi by the agency’s director is the latest effort by Washington to rebuild its intelligence relationships and influence on the continent

Last week’s visit of Christopher Wray, Director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), to Kenya and Nigeria to discuss the US government’s counter-terrorism strategies is the latest effort by Washington to rebuild its intelligence relationships in Africa.

Defence and security ties between the US and Kenya are expected to deepen in the coming months after President Joe Biden designated Kenya as a ‘major non-NATO ally’ during the state visit to the US of Kenyan counterpart William Ruto.

That is likely to include development of a military base in Lamu, the coastal town which has seen intermittent Al Shabaab attacks over the past decade. Biden and Ruto also agreed to a pact whereby the US will offer diplomatic and counter-terrorism training to Kenyan officials (AC Vol 65 No 12, Ruto revels in the western embrace).

Nairobi is also the destination for the bulk of Al Shabaab’s income and financial interests, estimated at around $120 million per year. The US and France have provided training and support for Kenyan law enforcement in tracking down the terror group’s illicit financial flows.

In a statement, Wray said that the US and its allies were ‘operating in a heightened threat environment’, which has been energised by the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The visits were Wray’s first to sub-Saharan Africa as the FBI’s Director.

In Kenya, he attended the first commander’s meeting of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Kenya (JTTF-K), which included the heads of each participating agency, while his itinerary in Nigeria including meetings with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and National Security Advisor Nuhu Ribadu.

Having agreed to remove its troops from Niger, Washington – like the European Union which will also end its military missions in the Sahel – is scrambling to work out how to rebuild its influence in West Africa. EU leaders, meanwhile, appear to have prioritised relations with Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire (AC Vol 65 No 11, Faye's diplomatic rounds).

Related Articles

Ruto revels in the western embrace

Washington offers military deals and pushes hefty investments as Kenya's President is feted in the US capital

Investment deals worth billions of dollars may have been secured, but geopolitics was the main agenda item during President William Ruto's four-day state visit to the United States...

Faye's diplomatic rounds

A stark contrast in diplomatic style and messaging has been on display from Senegal's new leadership duo over recent days.

Financial follow-through

Aggressive investment by the China Investment Corporation, which manages nearly US$300 billion of Beijing's $2.1 trillion in foreign reserves, is leading to a boom in Africa-focuse...

Migrants rock the summit boat

The African-European summit was meant to be all about youth opportunity, but the migration crisis refused to move down the agenda

The official theme of the fifth European Union-African Union joint summit in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which ended yesterday (30 November), was 'Investing in Youth'. Instead, footag...

The pandemic's collateral damage

The focus on the coronavirus, coupled with logistical problems, is drawing resources from the fight against Africa’s other serious diseases

Covid-19 is serious enough, but in Africa the unintended consequences of diverting health service resources may be even worse. 'The knock-on effects of Covid-19 on the fight agains...