Three Essays on Terrorism Impact on Development: a Case Study of Al-Shabaab Terrorist Spillover From Somalia to Kenya and Its Impact on Kenya’s Developmental Vision 2030


May 2023


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In this three essays dissertation, I examine the impact of Al-Shabaab terrorism on Kenya’s overall development, dubbed Vision 2030. Launched in 2008, the Vision was anchored on economic growth, social improvement, and political equality to “transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country by 2030,” however, with a rise in Al-Shabaab terrorism in Kenya, Vision’s success is at risk. These essays include regression analysis results and graphical representations to assess the terrorist group's impact on Kenya’s Vision 2030. Chapter 1 provides a general introduction to the dissertation. Chapter 2 evaluates Al-Shabaab's impact on Kenya's economy from 1995–2019. This chapter compares the group’s impact on Kenya to Ethiopia, which experienced minimal terrorism. The graphical results show the presence of Al-Shabaab terrorism in Kenya is associated with a reduction in international tourism arrivals and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow compared to Ethiopia. Graphs show a decline in tourist arrivals and the amount of FDI inflow to Kenya compared to Ethiopia, particularly over the time terrorism incidence rose (2011 – 2016). For example, figures 16A and 16B show Kenya’s international tourism and FDI declined by 26% and 67.63%, respectively, on average, compared to Ethiopia, which saw a 66.54% and 559.05% (figure 17A & 17B) increase in international tourism arrivals and amount of FDI inflow respectively over the same timeline. In Chapter 3, I examine the Al-Shabaab terrorist group’s impact on social development, measured by education within Kenya. Education is proxies by average years of schooling and assessed at a subnational (provincial) level. The regression results show the presence of Al- Shabaab terrorism in Kenya is associated with lower mean years of education. The regression outputs indicate that the single terrorism indicator (incidence) explained 21% of the variance and that the model significantly predicts social development. Terrorism incidence contributes considerably to the model (B = -0.1843694, p = 0.00000001049), while the number killed, wounded, and damaged property is insignificant. Based on these results, a 1-unit increase in terrorist incidence reduces school attendance by more than two months or 66 days on average. In Chapter 4, I investigate the political impact of Al-Shabaab terrorism on Kenya compared to Tanzania at the country level and the first administrative (province) level within Kenya. The political impact of terrorism is operationalized through police and court level of corruption and application of the rule of law, using the AFRO Barometer surveys from 2002–2018. The graphical results show a positive association between Al-Shabaab terrorism presence, level of corruption, and unequal application of the rule of law in Kenya compared to Tanzania, especially during the Al-Shabaab terrorism peak. The increase in police and court corruption levels, and the rise in unequal application of the rule of law, is worse in Kenya compared to Tanzania. Furthermore, within Kenya, the level of official government corruption at terrorism onset is worse in the Northeastern and Coast provinces compared to provinces without Al-Shabaab.



Political Science, Public Administration