Kenya could be cut off from the rest of the world – and its economy devasted – if an ongoing campaign by the United States against the country’s airspace wins global aviation support.
Key organs of the government concerned with air transport have for the past five months been locked in a frantic diplomatic battle to prevent Kenya’s airspace from being declared a conflict zone.
The campaign by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – without making known to Nairobi why it considers the country’s airspace insecure – would result in most airlines discontinuing their flights to Kenyan airports.
The move would not only destroy the country’s Sh586 billion tourism and horticulture industries, but would also cripple most air transportation to and from Kenya, isolating East Africa’s biggest economy from the rest of the world. Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated at Sh4.76 trillion (about $55 billion). The country has already overtaken three African countries — Ethiopia, Ghana and Tunisia — to enter a World Bank table of the Top Ten economies in Africa.