Kenya and Ethiopia have a long and complicated history. The two countries have been in conflict with each other for centuries, and their relations are still tense today. Many experts argue that the root of the problem is the two countries’ competing claims to the same territory.

Both Kenya and Ethiopia are trying to assert their dominance in the region, which often leads to conflict. With the current standoff between these two nations, let’s take a look at their centuries-long history.


The geographical location of Kenya and Ethiopia has long been a point of contention between the two countries. Both nations claim territorial rights over the Ogaden region, which is located in the east of Ethiopia. The Ogaden region is strategically important, as it lies on the route to the Red Sea and is home to valuable natural resources.

The conflict between Kenya and Ethiopia began in the 19th century when both countries were under British rule. The British had divided up East Africa into several different colonies, and each country was trying to expand its territory. In 1884, the British declared that the Ogaden region belonged to Ethiopia, but Kenya refused to recognize this decision. The two countries went to war in 1888, but the conflict was ended by the British government.

The conflict between Kenya and Ethiopia resumed after both countries gained their independence from Britain. The two countries fought a brief war over control of the Ogaden region, which Ethiopia won. However, Kenya has not given up its claim to the Ogaden region, and the two countries remain in a tense standoff today.

Kenya and Ethiopia have also been locked in a dispute over the Lake Turkana region. This area is located in northwest Kenya and contains valuable mineral resources. In 2010, Ethiopia announced plans to build a dam on the River Omo, which would flood parts of the Lake Turkana region. This announcement provoked outrage among Kenyans, who argued that it would destroy their way of life. The dispute between Kenya and Ethiopia over the Lake Turkana region has yet to be resolved.

The current state of relations

President Uhuru Kenyatta
(Source: @Cjamehk/Twitter Screengrab)

The most recent example of this tension was in December 2017, when Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta visited the disputed area of Abyei. Ethiopia’s visit was seen as a provocation, leading to a diplomatic crisis between the two countries. The two nations have also been locked in a dispute over the construction of a dam on the River Nile. Ethiopia has been pushing for the project, while Kenya has been opposed to it.

Many factors contribute to the strained relationship between Kenya and Ethiopia. These include competition for resources, historical grievances, and ideological differences. The two countries have also failed to resolve their disputes through peaceful means, which has only led to further animosity.