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Ruto Seeks Debt Relief In Talks With Biden

US President Joe Biden is set to welcome Kenyan President William Ruto this week for extensive discussions covering a range of topics, including debt relief for Kenya and addressing challenges in Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other regions.

Kenya has been facing severe liquidity challenges, prompting calls from Washington for major creditor countries like China, Kenya’s largest creditor, to provide relief to debtor nations. A senior administration official emphasised the importance of responsible debt management, stating, ‘We think it’s essential that responsible debtors provide reprieves for countries like Kenya, whether that’s by debt service suspensions or via new grant assistance.’


Additionally, Washington is urging international financial institutions to offer low-cost financing to Kenya and other countries facing similar predicaments.

During the state visit, significant joint announcements regarding debt relief are anticipated, signalling potential solutions for countries like Kenya to address their debt burdens.

The visit also serves as a strategic move by the United States to counter China’s increasing influence in Africa. US Treasury Undersecretary Jay Shambaugh recently cautioned against countries collecting debt service payments from low-income nations, highlighting concerns about Beijing’s reluctance to engage in debt restructuring efforts.

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, noted the broader implications of the Ruto visit, stating, ‘When Ruto speaks, he’s really speaking for Africa… this meeting is not only about Kenya, it’s really about sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.’

Apart from debt relief discussions, Biden and Ruto will explore security cooperation as part of expanding US-Kenya relations from regional to global partnership levels. The agenda includes addressing issues in Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other global hotspots.

Notably, Kenya’s agreement with Haiti to deploy police officers was abruptly paused in March, signalling evolving dynamics in international partnerships.

Following their talks, Biden and Ruto are scheduled to hold a joint news conference and attend a state dinner, highlighting the significance of their discussions in shaping bilateral and global relations.

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