I got back from Kenya earlier this morning, and the blog will be up and running again as normal in a few days. I just need to catch up on some sleep and a few errands first though. I was able to follow some international news, as well as Kenyan developments during the trip, but I understand there is quite a lot of Bermudian developments I need to catch up on.
The Kenya trip itself was quite nice. We were essentially just in south-western Kenya; the study tour itself was focused on the Mara river watershed and Mau Forest. We were in the Maasai Mara, then Lake Nakura and Lake Naivasha, as well as some places in between. Of course we balanced learning about the economic and ecological issues of the area with some safari style game drives which was very nice indeed.
Based on my experiences though, learning about the Mara/Mau forest issues and interaction with Kenyans, honestly I am not very optimistic about the immediate future of East Africa right now. For Kenya itself I see the Grand Coalition Government collapsing this year, which may lead to more chaos and violence like that of the post-2007 election riots. The patron-client corruption there is just about at breaking point in its impact on social and ecological issues, and the destruction of the Mau forest, along with damage to the Mara river looks close to causing a systems collapse. Such a systems collapse, along with more political violence, I think would really debilitate Kenya through the cascade effects on tourism revenue and food import dependence.
Further afield, an ecological systems collapse of that area would have knock on effects in Tanzania (through the Serengeti), and up through Uganda and Sudan. Add to this what I sense to be growing problems in Rwanda 15 years on from the genocide there, and the upcoming elections in Sudan (with likely South Sudan independence in 2012), and I really am not feeling good about the future development of East Africa.
Hopefully I’m wrong though, but it’ll give me something to mull over for the next little while.
I’ll be back to regular posting shortly.