President Joe Biden welcomes Kenya's President William Ruto to the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. Susan Walsh - staff, ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Joe Biden welcomes Kenya's President William Ruto to the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2024.Susan Walsh - staff, ASSOCIATED PRESS

All You Need to Know About Kenya President William Ruto’s Visit to the US

Pres. Ruto of Kenya historic four-day state visit to the United States holds significant importance for strengthening bilateral ties, addressing critical regional issues.

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Kenya President William Ruto historic four-day state visit to the United States marks the first such visit by a Kenyan leader in two decades and the first by an African head of state since 2008. The visit, at the invitation of President Joe Biden, holds significant importance for strengthening bilateral ties and addressing critical regional and global issues. Ruto asked Biden when he plans to visit Africa and Biden responded and said in February, after he is reelected.

 Kenya President William Ruto's Visit to the US

This visit included stops in Atlanta and Washington, D.C., aimed at strengthening bilateral relations and addressing key regional and global issues.

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Kenya President William Ruto's Visit Tyler Perry Studio
Kenya President William Ruto’s Visit Tyler Perry Studio

Highlights of the Visit

Atlanta Engagements


Global Democracy Partnership Address at Carter Center: Ruto first landed in Atlanta, where he spoke on “Global Democracy Partnership” at the Jimmy Carter Center on Monday. “In several countries, we have seen unconstitutional changes of government that have threatened democratic gains,” the president said in his address. “Consequently, this is a crucial time for reflecting on the need to strengthen democracy worldwide. “President Ruto said was making “a case for many countries in Africa, including Kenya seeking a just international financial architecture that will afford developing countries concessionary development financing to support our economies, build resilience against the effects of climate change, drive our belief in a free-market economy and energize our democratic enterprise.

The diaspora registration and mapping for skills and expertise that we are pursuing will ensure that we secure placement of more Kenyans in productive employment abroad. With increased earnings, the Diaspora can act as catalysts in our country’s economic development.

Center for Disease Control (CDC):
Ruto visited the CDC in Atlanta and witnessed the signing of MoUs between CDC and Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in developing a Sustainability Roadmap for Kenya’s HIV Programme and the joint proclamation for the operationalisation of the Kenya National Public Health Institute enhancing the U.S.-Kenya health collaboration.

    Tuesday Continued Engagements in Atlanta

    Spelman College: He spoke at Spelman College on “Investing in a Shared Future Through Higher Education,” emphasizing the critical role of higher education in enhancing Kenya’s human capital development. In a post on X, he sums it all up
    “We have taken our long-standing ties with the United States of America a notch higher with the signing of a partnership in education. This pact will enhance student and faculty exchange, joint research and innovation to accelerate our country’s Silicon Savannah ambition”

    Prosper Africa Event: President Ruto’s visit commenced with a private sector engagement hosted by Prosper Africa at Spelman College in Atlanta. The event focused on STEM, U.S.-Kenya higher education partnerships, and strengthening engagement with the African diaspora. Notable attendees included Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

    Tyler Perry Studios: Ruto toured Tyler Perry Studios, where he was welcomed by American TV host Steve Harvey. This visit underscored the potential for partnerships in the creative industry between Kenya and the U.S. Although Tyler Perry was unavailable, he expressed his honor and intention to visit Kenya soon.

    Kenya President William Ruto's Visit Tyler Perry Studio

    Trade and Investment at Coca-Cola Headquarters: The President also visited Coca-Cola’s headquarters, where he secured a $175 million investment to expand the company’s operations in Kenya over the next five years. This investment is expected to bolster economic growth and job creation in Kenya.

    Vivo Fashion Group Store Launch: Ruto launched the first U.S. store of Vivo Fashion Group in Atlanta. The company, co-founded by Wandia Gichuru, is one of East Africa’s largest fashion brands and has been a significant player in promoting Kenyan entrepreneurship and women’s leadership. He also praised the company for its role in promoting Kenyan fashion and entrepreneurship, highlighting its impact on the local economy and its recent inclusion in the Nairobi Securities Exchange Ibuka Programme.

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    Washington, D.C. Activities


    Meeting with U.S. Leaders: In Washington, D.C., President Ruto met with several key U.S. leaders, including President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer. These meetings focused on enhancing cooperation on regional security, climate change, and economic development.

    “We’re launching a new era of technolog- — technological cooperation between Kenya and America, including new exchanges and investments in key fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors ” – Pres. Biden

    “Mr. President, one very important aspect is the CHIPS Act, which hopefully we will be able to have a conversation about in the coming days. – Pres. Ruto.

    Arlington National Cemetery: Later in the day, Ruto visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia to pay respects to the fallen heroes of America.

    Black Caucus Engagement: The President will also address a Black Caucus at the Library of Congress, imploring Congress to take lead in reconfiguring the global financial architecture where power is not in the hands of the few. A bold, robust and targeted approach will free Africa of the debt burden and transform the world. He also emphasized the importance of U.S.-Kenya relations and exploring avenues for further collaboration.


      State Arrival Ceremony:
      The WhiteHouse hosted a state arrival ceremony on the WhiteHouse Lawn to welcome President Ruto and Kenya’s First Lady, Rachel Ruto 60 years of progress between Kenya and the United States of America. Both presidents spoke at a joint press conference.

      Both President met with business leaders to move forward technology collaboration and deepen the ties between Silicon Valley and the Silicon Savannah. Ruto’s delegation also persuade the U.S. to hasten the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act that will provide new markets and help sustain our country’s economic growth. They also discussed about co-designing the U.S.- Kenya defence and security frameworks.

      Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center: Ruto will deliver a keynote address at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg Center, where he shared his thoughts on investing in climate solutions. He discussed climate change and green industrialization opportunities in Africa. “The world must get back to work, take a bold, unusual and path-breaking resolve to safeguard our ecosystem. We can only keep our communities safe and healthier through the healing of our planet.”

      Kenya Pres. Ruto gives a speech at Johns Hopkin University

      Luxury State Dinner: Kenyan President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto were honored with an luxuriously elevated state dinner at the White House celebrating 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The dinner a collision of worlds from former President Clinton and Hillary Clinton to holllywood, entertainment and sport stars; performing at dinner was country music star Brad Paisley.

      Other notable guests for Thursday’s state dinner included actor Sean Penn, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, philanthropist Melinda French Gates, guitarist Don McLean, tech executive Sheryl Sandberg and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

      Kenya President William Ruto gives a toast at White House State dinner
      Pres. Biden gives a toast at White House State dinner
      President Biden offers a toast during a state dinner with Kenya’s President William Ruto at the White House, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
      Musician Brad Paisley performs during a state dinner in honor of Kenya’s president William Ruto hosted by President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 23, 2024. AL DRAGO/BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

      Key Issues Addressed

      1. Climate Change: President Ruto underscored the need for a just international financial architecture to support developing countries in combating climate change. He advocated for concessionary development financing to bolster economies and enhance resilience against climate impacts.
      2. Regional Security: Discussions included addressing conflicts in Sudan, South Sudan, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and the Sahel, as well as terrorism in Somalia. Strengthening collaboration with the U.S. on these issues was a priority.
      3. Economic Partnerships: The visit highlighted the importance of trade and investment in generating prosperity. Ruto’s engagements with U.S. businesses and leaders aimed to attract more investments to Kenya and promote economic growth.

      President Ruto’s visit holds immense significance for Kenya-US relations, economic partnerships, and addressing pressing regional and global challenges, setting the stage for a renewed and strengthened bilateral relationship.

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