President Ruto in historic meeting with US President Biden

President William Ruto, Frist Lady Rachel Ruto are received by US First Lady Jill Biden at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Washington, D.C, in the United States of America on May 22, 2024. [PCS]

US President Joe Biden is today expected to host President William Ruto at the White House.

By Wednesday evening, American and Kenyan flags dotted Washington, DC streets. 

Ruto arrived in Washington Wednesday evening (East Africa Time) where he met the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mike Johnson at the Capitol. 

President Ruto also engaged the US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and addressed a Black Caucus at the Library of Congress. 

Ruto wound up his first leg of the State visit in Atlanta by urging the private and public sectors to explore beneficial partnerships in Kenya. In Atlanta, Georgia, the President appealed to the US business community to invest in Kenya’s diverse opportunities.  

Speaking during a meeting with Fortune Company chief executive officer, Ruto said investing in Kenya promises better returns, particularly in the renewable energy, housing, manufacturing, agriculture and ICT sectors. 

“Kenya means business. We urge international businesses to capitalise on the 60-year-old Kenya-US relationship that is grounded on shared values of democracy, freedom and enterprise to invest in Kenya,” he said.  

During his tour of the Coca-Cola Company headquarters, it was announced that the manufacturer would will invest Sh23 billion ($175 million) over the next five years to expand operations in Kenya. 

“This is a milestone in the firm’s presence in Kenya and Africa, a testimony that we must sustain our strong collaboration for us grow,” he said.

The President also visited the New Vivo Fashion Group Retail Store in Atlanta where he lauded the business’s move to include made-in-Kenya brands in its stores.  

“This is an African spirit where businesses find innovative ways to support each other’s advancement as we take the global stage,” he said. 

Ruto also spoke at the Spelman College where a partnership on education was signed to enhance student and faculty exchange, joint research and innovation to accelerate the country’s Silicon Savannah ambition. 

At the Centres for Disease Control headquarters, President Ruto witnessed the signing of MoUs between the centre and the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Ministry of Health and the US 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. 

He noted that the US has been a key ally in Kenya’s healthcare sector and intends to further this partnership by expanding infrastructure, research and local vaccine manufacturing.  

Ruto maintained that solid research would boost Africa’s capacity to locally produce vaccines.   

Ruto on Monday spoke at the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum and toured The Martin Luther King Jr Centre for Nonviolent Social Change.  

He paid homage to Martin Luther and Jimmy Carter, stating the two left behind a lasting legacy.

Later, the President met the Kenyan Diaspora community. He pointed out that the Government had intensified diaspora registration and mapping for skills and expertise.  

“We are developing the Global Labour Market Strategy that targets safe, secure and orderly placement of Kenyans in employment opportunities abroad,” he said. 

Ruto also interacted with Kenyans at the Cobb Galleria Centre, met the Mayor of Atlanta Andre Dickens and toured the Tyler Perry Studios.