African agency and the new foreign policy response to the US’s Huawei ban: Evidence from Kenya

Main Article Content

Cliff Mboya


As rivalry between China and the United States (US) for global dominance of the digital landscape intensifies, countries across the globe are responding to the impact, with serious implications for their foreign policy postures. This article extends the concept of rational choice to an examination of strat- egies directed by China and the US to influence African policy positions. By applying this framework to an examination of the Huawei ban in the US and pressure on its allies to follow suit, the article distinguishes the overriding emphasis of research on global power competition and foreign policy- making on the interests and values of China and the US from an emerging strategy of agency in Kenya. The rational choice perspective enables us to understand what informs Kenya’s interests, preferences, choices, and foreign policy decisions in the US Huawei ban. By focusing on the role of domestic factors shaping Kenya’s foreign policy choices, we come to see how individuals, local businesses, consumers, interest groups, bureaucracies, and policymakers in Kenya are self-interested rational actors influenc- ing collective action and shaping the country’s policy choices rather than passive recipients of great power influences. The article aims to contribute to a strategy of re-centring domestic actors in Kenya’s foreign policymaking and exerting their agency in the rivalry between China and the US.



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How to Cite
Mboya, C. (2023). African agency and the new foreign policy response to the US’s Huawei ban: Evidence from Kenya. The Africa Governance Papers, 1(4). Retrieved from
Research Articles
Author Biography

Cliff Mboya




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