Securing peace and prosperity in the Eastern Africa Indian Ocean Realm (EAIOR) states is linked to the centrality of the Indian Ocean to the world. This realm is framed by land and seaward states along the western Red Sea and the East Coast of Africa. Three clusters of states can be discerned.
Cluster 1: Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique make up the landward component.
Cluster 2: The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda Ethiopia, Sudan, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi, and Zambia whose survival is the consequence of geo-strategic seaboard infrastructure.
Cluster 3: This consists of the island states of Madagascar, Seychelles, and the Comoros.
These geographical spaces also played host to classical coastal city states that maintained strategic and trade relations with Asia. The strategic salience of the EAIOR is linked to evolving survival and interests of these states and other global actors.
East African Indian Ocean Realm states currently attract predatory attention for their strategic resources, and existing and envisioned infrastructure by the USA, China, Russia, European and Arab Gulf states. Notably, EAIOR states must balance their diplomacy around security interests overflows from the Pacific Realm. These include the Taiwan issue, sovereignty, governance questions, and the maritime border issues that frame superpower relations. These issues are played out in strategies and alliances like China’s One Belt – One Road (OBOR) and the ‘Quad’ that seek access or denial of this strategic interface ocean space.
In addition, the EAIOR states continue to grapple with a wide range of security challenges. This paper identifies various challenges facing the region, and, in each case, possible policies and strategies to address them.