politics interlude . . . (of course the image of a worker on a tea plantation can be politically freighted . . .)
The Institute for Defense Analyses‘ Africa Watch publication (PDF below) has a discussion by Amb. George Ward of the recent report for the UNEP and Interpol on the banned charcoal trade from Somalia (“The Somali Charcoal Industry–Strange Bedfellows”). Rather than shut down the trade that has been the primary revenue source for Al Shabaab, the Kenyan Defense Forces have continued the trade out of Kismayo, which they captured nearly two years ago, along with their present day allies in the Ras Kamboni militia. Further, the KDF is apparently participating in the same overall network of deforestation, charcoal production and brokered export trade that includes continued unmolested shipping by Al Shabaab itself from Baraawe. The traders include businessmen established in Nairobi and Garissa, so Kenya profits on that end too.
Fortunately for the Kenyan taxpayers, the EU and the United States primarily fund the AMISOM mission which has covered the Kenyan forces since mid-2012. Something tells me the charcoal proceeds generated through the KDF are not going to the Kenyan treasury.
Of course, other reports of KDF dealing in the charcoal trade have been out there for a long time. See my post “Kenya’s persistent national security corruption continues to burden Somali endeavors”.
American products are relatively few and far between in East Africa. While there are a more substantial number of products from international companies headquartered in the U.S., actual export of goods from the U.S. is very limited. Here is a product manufactured right here in the deep Gulf South. While the peppers are grown at several locations globally now, as well as at Avery Island, Louisiana, all of the sauce making and bottling is done at the original Avery Island plant.