Ruto diplomatic charm offensive targets jobs and mega projects

In March, Scholz played host to Ruto during a State visit to Germany, with the pair signing a joint declaration on climate and development partnership.

The German chancellor's visit came days after the president hosted Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio at State House. On Thursday, Ruto held a meeting the World Meteorological Organisation Secretary-General Petteri Taalas following the visit by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Ruto's engagements this past week also include one with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. Last week, Kenya hosted the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend, where he called for more respect for African leaders.

The President is expected to travel to the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Israel. State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed in a statement, on Friday said that the head of State will join world leaders in the UK for the coronation off King Charles III.

UK visit

"At the invitation of the King, President Ruto will attend the historic event to be held at Westminster Abbey and presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby," Mohamed said. On Sunday, the President will visit The Netherlands for bilateral meetings, with King Willem-Alexander before heading to Israel for a two-day State visit, following an invitation by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since ascending to office, Ruto has established himself in the diplomatic space, whitewashing his earlier gaffe with the revocation of Kenya's recognition of Western Sahara.

He has met presidents and prime ministers, hosting as many as have hosted him on his foreign trips. Ruto's guests at State House include South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, Zimbabwe's Emerson Mnangagwa and Spain's Pedro Sanchez. The President has used his foreign trips to strengthen and seek new partnerships, bagging multi-billion-shilling deals as well as funding for strategic projects. Among the significant deals he has secured is a Sh500 billion investment from the United Kingdom meant for dam projects, announced after his meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

He has also used his position as the chairperson of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change to urge wealthier nations to honour financial commitments, a message he emphasized when he addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference, the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27) in Egypt.

On the sidelines of the Sharm El-Sheikh meet, Ruto held talks with East African presidents Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania) and DRC Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde in seeking solutions to the conflict in the DRC.

Last year, he made his maiden speech as President at the UN General Assembly in New York.

Ruto has also been on a regional diplomatic charm offensive, establishing Kenya's voice in issues affecting her neighbours. The president has been vocal about the security situation in Sudan, offering to host mediation talks between warring factions.

He has also been keen on the conflict in eastern DRC, where Kenya's troops are part of the East African Community Regional Force, as well as playing a part in seeking lasting peace in al-Shabaab-ravaged Somalia. He has visited both strife-torn nations.

Last week, Ruto attended a meeting of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia held in Kampala, Uganda, a month after a state visit to Rwanda.

Other leaders the President has met include the United Nations Office in Nairobi Director General Zainab Hawa Bangura, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and several ambassadors.