President William Ruto. [Standard, File]

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel are set to depart this evening for a four-day state visit to the United States.

State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohammed, in a press conference at State House on Sunday, May 19, said the visit is the first by a Kenyan head of state in two decades and the first by an African head of state since 2008, marking a historic milestone.

“The visit will bolster shared commitments to economic growth, democratic values, peace, and security between Kenya and the United States,” he said.

On Monday, May 20, Ruto’s visit will commence in Atlanta, Georgia, where he will visit The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum to emphasize the two countries’ commitment to governance, democratic values, and anti-corruption efforts.

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

 His third stop in Atlanta will focus on Kenya’s health partnership at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters.


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 Among the key announcements will be the new CDC-Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) partnership.

On Tuesday, the President will commence his visit at Spelman College. There, he will discuss the critical role of higher education, particularly science and technology, in enhancing Kenya’s human capital development.

At Tyler Perry Studios, Ruto will explore opportunities within the creative economy, highlighting it as a potential job creator and an area of robust partnership between Kenya and the US.

The President will then shift attention to trade and investment with his visit to the Coca-Cola Company. New investment partnerships will be announced.

He will also launch Vivo’s inaugural store, a leading Kenyan fashion enterprise showcasing the power of Kenyan women entrepreneurs.

Mayor Andrew Dickens of Atlanta and the Atlanta CEO’s Council will then host President Ruto and First Lady Rachel, where they will seek to position Kenya as a regional manufacturing hub.

Ruto will later travel to Washington DC on Wednesday, May 22, where he will receive full ceremonial state honours at Andrews Air Force Base.

The President will have extensive engagements on Capitol Hill, meeting a bipartisan Congressional delegation under the chairmanship of the Speaker of the House.

He will also meet with the Congressional Black Caucus and hold discussions with a bipartisan caucus in the Senate led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

 In his meeting on Capitol Hill, the President will appraise the legislators on the challenges faced by democracies on the continent. He will brief legislators on the dual crisis of climate change and conflict in the region.

He will also implore Congress to extend the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

 On Thursday, May 23, Ruto and the First Lady will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery, honouring the sacrifices of American soldiers as well as historic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and John F. Kennedy.

 Later, Ruto will hold bilateral meetings with his host, President Joe Biden, with discussions centering on Kenya-US economic, health, and security partnership.

Multilateral issues will also feature in talks. The two leaders will later hold a joint press briefing at the White House.

President Ruto will then deliver a keynote address on shared climate solutions at the Smithsonian before attending a state dinner at the White House later in the evening.

 On Friday, May 24, the visit concludes with strategic engagements focusing on trade, investment, and digital cooperation.

Ruto will make a case for Kenya as a prime destination for US investment at a breakfast at the US Chamber of Commerce.

 He will also hold a digital roundtable discussion hosted by Vice President Kamala Harris, exploring the potential for expanding the US-Kenya digital partnership.

 Ruto will also pay a visit to the Pentagon where he will highlight the Kenya-US partnership in the fight against terrorism, extremism, and other emerging areas, including cybersecurity.