Mara A. Leichtman
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Kuwait’s foreign relations with East Africa
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Policy analysis has begun to examine Africa as a new arena for competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran; often ignoring the history of inter-regional connections. Whereas GCC countries are frequently evaluated as a bloc; Kuwait’s interests in Africa have differed considerably from its neighbours. Named ‘an international humanitarian centre’ by the United Nations; Kuwait’s relations with Africa have been at multiple levels of state policy; civil society; and individual donors. Kuwait developed the first national development fund in the region immediately after its independence in 1961. Kuwaiti NGOs have been sponsoring charitable and development activities throughout Africa since the 1980s. A small state aware of its vulnerability; in particular following the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion; Kuwait has given generously and strategically to other nations as part of its foreign policy. Poorer countries have much to offer in return; ranging from soldiers to political clout; Kuwait was elected in 2017 to the UN Security Council with considerable African support.

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The Gulf States and the Horn of Africa

Interests, influences and instability

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