Biden and Kenya’s Ruto to Announce New Investments to Strengthen Bilateral Ties

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. President Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto are set to announce significant investments in green energy, health manufacturing, and a plan to reduce Kenya’s debt burden during Ruto’s three-day state visit to the United States.

President Ruto arrived in the U.S. on Wednesday for a series of bilateral talks with President Biden, culminating in a state dinner on Thursday evening. This marks the sixth state visit hosted by the Biden administration and the first for an African president since 2008.

The leaders aim to bolster ties between the U.S. and Kenya amidst a backdrop of political instability in Africa, which has seen increased influence from China and Russia due to recent military coups, wars, and elections. Strengthening relations with Kenya is seen as a strategic move to stabilize the continent and advance U.S. interests.

On Thursday, President Biden will designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally, making it the first sub-Saharan African country to receive this status. This designation, currently held by 18 countries including Israel, Brazil, and the Philippines, enhances bilateral cooperation in defense and economic relations.

New U.S.-backed investments in Kenya will be announced, focusing on green energy and health manufacturing. A senior U.S. administration official revealed that a detailed plan will also be presented to address Kenya’s high debt load, much of which is owed to China.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation will announce $250 million in new investments in Kenya, including $180 million for a major affordable housing project. This will increase the agency’s portfolio in Kenya to over $1 billion.

The humanitarian crisis in Haiti will also be a topic of discussion, as Kenya prepares to deploy 1,000 paramilitary officers to the Caribbean country as part of a U.N.-led effort to combat gang violence and hunger.

President Biden has announced plans for an official visit to Africa in February, following the U.S. presidential election, assuming a victory over Donald Trump. Biden had previously pledged to visit Africa in 2023, but the trip did not materialize.

President Ruto will be honored at a state dinner featuring a lavish menu that includes heirloom tomato soup, butter-poached lobster, smoked beef short ribs, and a white chocolate dessert. The dinner will be lit by 1,000 candles and will feature performances by country singer Brad Paisley and the Howard University Gospel Choir, in tribute to Ruto’s musical interests.

This state visit and the announced investments underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to strengthening U.S.-Kenya relations and supporting sustainable development in Africa.