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Kenyan President Ruto Meets Biden For Historic Talks

KENYAN President William Ruto embarks on a significant state visit to the United States, marking the first such visit by a Kenyan president in two decades and the first by an African leader since 2008. The highly anticipated meeting between Ruto and US President Joe Biden in Washington is expected to address pressing issues, including the crisis in Haiti and efforts to strengthen trade ties.

Billed as ‘historic’ by Ruto’s office, Thursday’s talks between Biden and Ruto will delve into critical topics such as trade partnerships and security collaborations, with a primary focus on Kenya’s commitment to leading a UN-backed multinational mission aimed at restoring order in Haiti, which has been plagued by gang-driven violence.

Despite facing legal hurdles and funding challenges, Kenya has pledged to deploy 1,000 personnel to Haiti, emphasising the mission’s humanitarian significance in addressing the longstanding issues of poverty, instability, and natural disasters in the region. Ruto defends the initiative as a vital step towards alleviating the suffering of the Haitian people.


However, a recent lawsuit filed against Ruto’s government challenges the deployment’s constitutionality, highlighting potential obstacles to the mission’s execution. Funding for the mission remains a key concern, with the United States being the largest supporter of the force, pledging over $300 million, while other countries have been slow to offer support.

Ahead of the talks, Ruto emphasises the importance of US support in rallying financial backing for the UN basket fund and curbing the influx of arms into Haiti, calling for greater collaboration to address these pressing challenges.

In addition to the Haiti crisis, trade discussions feature prominently in Ruto’s itinerary. Starting his visit in Atlanta, Georgia, Ruto underscores the significance of democratic nations working together to tackle global issues. He advocates for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) during meetings with a Congressional delegation, highlighting the potential for increased trade between Kenya and the US.

As Ruto seeks to strengthen economic ties, challenges arise, including the expiration of AGOA in 2025 and the need for clarity on future trade arrangements. Despite hurdles, Kenyan Trade Minister Rebecca Miano underscores the vast investment opportunities in Kenya, highlighting the country’s readiness to engage with American investors.

Amid the diplomatic engagements, a request for Ruto to address a joint session of Congress faces obstacles, sparking criticism from Democratic lawmakers. Analysts suggest that the visit reflects evolving dynamics in US-Africa relations, with implications for Kenya’s future engagements with Washington.

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