External Actors in the War and Conflict: What factors motivated Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to militarily intervene in Somalia?

Yvonne Twum, Yunus Emre Ercan & Mohamed Ali Moalim

Student thesis: Master programme paper


This study structurize what factors motivated Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda to militarily intervene in Somalia. Mainstream research argues that the intensification of forceful military engagement intended by these states is for regional domination in order to secure their national and economic interests. In that sense, the War on Terror and the deployment of national troops under the AMISOM enable them to achieve hegemonic ambitions in the region. On the other hand, more critical theories of political economy point out that the conflict and external interventions are the outcome of economic dependence on western countries, whereas little attention is given to African agency and its pivotal role in Somalia. Therefore need to complement our dominant view from the macro level to micro level analysis to understand not only national, regional, and international dynamics but also socio-economic features of these countries. In addition to the theories of neoclassical realism, ‘international image management strategy’, ‘neopatrimonialism’ and ‘rent-seeking behaviour’ of African agency are theoretically and empirically discussed in order to see the big picture. The study aims to offer new perspectives and insights into the motivations of Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Ugandan intervention in Somalia.

EducationsInternational Public Administration and Politics, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date18 Dec 2018
Number of pages45
SupervisorsGorm Rye Olsen


  • War on Terror
  • AU
  • East Africa
  • Kenya
  • Uganda
  • Ethiopia
  • the Horn of Africa