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Biden and Kenya’s President William Ruto Meet to Foster Global Partnership

Kenya is set to become the 19th nation to receive the title of major non-NATO ally as it prepares to deploy 1,000 police officers to Haiti.

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden welcomed Kenya’s President William Ruto to the White House in a formal ceremony on May 23, where they emphasized the importance of strengthening security through their global partnership.

President Biden stated, “Together, the United States and Kenya are collaborating to address crucial challenges such as people’s lives, health security, economic security, cyber security, and climate security.”

He commended Kenya for its use of clean energy for 90% of its power and its ongoing support in standing united with the U.S. against adversaries like Russia, ISIS, and al-Shabab.

Kenya is on the path to becoming the 19th major non-NATO ally as it readies to send 1,000 police officers to help control gang violence in Haiti. The forces will be joined by personnel from The Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Bangladesh.

Mr. Ruto’s visit marks the first formal state visit by an African leader since 2008 and is significant as Russia and China exert their influence on the African continent.

According to the Associated Press, Kenya’s debt-to-GDP ratio exceeds 70%, most of which is owed to China. Kenya recently endeavored to construct a new railway linking the port city of Mombassa to the Rift Valley via Nairobi, funded predominantly by China Bank Loans.

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The two leaders will address the issue of “debt distress” during their discussions.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned that they will explore ways to create a more equitable international financial system that treats all countries fairly.

Trade is also expected to be a major topic of conversation.

In his remarks, President Ruto expressed his optimism for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunities Act and the establishment of a strategic trade and investment partnership between Kenya and the U.S.

The meeting precedes the second U.S.-Africa Nuclear Energy Summit between the U.S. Department of Energy and Kenya and Ghana, scheduled for August 2024 in Nairobi, Kenya. This summit will focus on industry readiness, addressing critical issues affecting the future of nuclear energy in Africa, and highlighting nuclear power’s role in achieving Net Zero by 2050.

President Biden reflected on the day Kenya gained independence, reminisced about his visits there as a Senator and Vice President, and emphasized the strong 60-year relationship between the two nations rooted in their shared democratic values.

While he had pledged to visit Sub-Saharan Africa last year, he did not fulfill that promise. A visit to Kenya in February is now the latest in his re-election promises.

He concluded by stating, “Kenya and the United States stand together, committed to each other, committed to our people, and committed to building a better world—a world of greater opportunity, dignity, security, and liberty for all Americans and all Kenyans.”

Samantha Flom and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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