June 18, 2024

Ruto jets out to US, details of his 4-day state visit

5 min read
Ruto jets out to US, details of his 4-day state visit

President William Ruto on Sunday night departed the country for a four-day state visit to the United States (US)

President William Ruto on Sunday night departed the country for a four-day state visit to the United States (US).

This will be the first State Visit by a Kenyan Head of State in two decades and the first by an African Head of State since 2008.

State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed in a statement said the visit demonstrates the robust partnership between Kenya and the United States and is a fitting tribute to 60 years of strong diplomatic ties.

“During this period, Kenya and the United States of America have enjoyed deepening and mutually beneficial cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels, resulting in the elevation of the relationship in 2018 to a Strategic Partnership,” read the statement in part.

Hussein noted that the visit will be anchored in five main themes: Economic Prosperity, Trade, and Investment; Defense Cooperation; Democracy, Governance, and Civilian Security; Multilateral and Regional Issues; and Health Cooperation.

“The visit is themed “Partnership for Prosperity” and aims to bolster shared commitments to economic growth, democratic values, peace and security, and reflects the strategic importance of Kenya to the US as a leading regional anchor and the main commercial gateway to Eastern Africa,” said Hussein.

Kenya and the United States of America share a strong bond of friendship, evidenced by the exchange of high-level visits between the two countries.

Since December 2022, Kenya and the US have enhanced bilateral and multilateral engagements through our participation in the US-Africa Summit, the third Bilateral Strategic Dialogue in April 2023, the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2024, and roadshows in Chicago and New York among others.

President Ruto will begin his visit on Monday where he will visit the Carter Presidential Library and Museum to emphasize our shared commitment to governance, democratic values, and anti-corruption efforts.

The President will then visit Ebenezer Baptist Church, to pay homage to the civil rights struggle and emphasize how religion can be a force for good.

The third area of engagement for the president on day 1 will focus on the U.S.-Kenya Health Partnership at the Center Disease Control Headquarters. 

Among key announcements will include the new CDC- KEMRI partnership, and more details will be shared to that effect.

The President and First Lady will then be hosted by Kenyans living in Atlanta, with a focus on the diaspora as a key player in national transformation as envisioned in the Bottom-up Transformation Agenda.

On  Tuesday, the president will commence his second day at Spelman College where he will discuss the critical role of higher education particularly science and technology in enhancing Kenya’s human capital development which is critical in attracting investments that solidify Kenya’s profile as a destination of choice for tech jobs.

Ruto will then visit Tyler Perry Studios and explore opportunities within the creative economy, highlighting the rapidly growing sector as a potentially major job creator and area for robust partnership between Kenya and the United States.

The President will then shift attention to trade and investment with a visit to Coca-Cola, where new investment partnerships will be announced before attending the launch of VIVO’s inaugural store in America.

On Tuesday evening, Mayor Andre Dickens of Atlanta and the Atlanta CEO’s Council will then host the president who will seek to position Kenya as an important regional manufacturing hub.

On Wednesday,  the President and the First Lady will travel to Washington, D.C., on the morning of Wednesday, May 22, arriving at Andrews Airforce Base, where they will be officially received with full ceremonial state honours.

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The President will have extensive engagements at the Hill, where he will meet a bipartisan congressional delegation under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the House, meet with the Black Congressional Caucus and hold discussions with a Bipartisan Caucus of the Senate led by Senator Schumer (Majority) and Senator McConnel (Minority).

In his meetings at the Hill, the President will apprise the legislators of the challenges faced by democracies on the continent and the urgent need for America’s tangible and practical engagement with the continent.

Ruto will brief the legislators on the dual crises of climate change and conflicts in the region and Kenya’s leadership in dealing with these challenges.

On Thursday which is the main day of the President’s State Visit to the United States. The President and First Lady will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery to honour the sacrifices of American soldiers as well as historic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and John F. Kennedy, who have had profound impacts on Kenya’s history.

President Ruto will hold the main bilateral meetings with his host President Biden, delve deeper into Kenya-US economic, health, and security partnership, and discuss regional developments on the continent highlighting the fragilities and opportunities on the continent.

Multilateral issues will equally feature in the talks including MDB reform and Security Council reforms to enable the world to cope with the evolving poly-crisis of climate, debt, pandemics and a multitude of security threats. 

The two leaders will hold a joint press conference at the White House.

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