U.S., Kenya sign investment commitment to deepen partnership during state visit




U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House in Washington on Wednesday, beginning a two-day state visit. Photo: Yuri Gripas/UPI

May 23 (UPI) — The White House on Thursday released details of a series of deals including at least $470 million worth of government and private investments and financing struck with Kenyan President William Ruto on the second day of his state visit to Washington.

Much of the investment will be used to help the East African country’s green energy transition, housing, health – including developing pharmaceutical manufacturing – and promoting democracy and human rights.

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During Ruto’s visit to Coca-Cola’s Atlanta headquarters on Wednesday, the company announced $175 million in new investments in the country over the next five years, while Virunga Power announced a $100 million plan to Six run-of-river hydro projects will be built to provide 31 megawatts of renewable energy to power growth in western and central Kenya, the White House said in a briefing.

Ruto’s state visit, the sixth leader to whom President Joe Biden has bestowed the honor in three years at the White House, marks six decades of U.S.-Kenya friendship and comes as U.S. partnerships with African countries grow for a more equal relationship.

“This partnership is built on shared values, deep collaboration and a shared vision for the future,” the White House said.

The statement added that the two leaders’ agenda demonstrates “how our relationship delivers tangible benefits to our two peoples” in areas including democracy, human rights and governance, health, climate, trade and investment, debt, Development and sustainable finance, technology, and peace and security.

Biden also informed Congress that he intends to designate Kenya as a “major non-NATO ally.”

“This title is bestowed by the United States to a country that has a close strategic working relationship with U.S. military and defense civilian personnel. The United States deeply respects Kenya’s contributions to global peace and security,” the White House said.

It noted that it was the first sub-Saharan African country to receive such a title.

On Capitol Hill, Ruto held talks with congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Lewis Mike Johnson, Republican of Anna.

He also met with the Congressional Black Caucus, which awarded him honorary membership and called for democratization of the global financial system and debt relief.

“Kenya recognizes the special role that the Congressional Black Caucus continues to play in promoting social justice, human rights and economic development around the world. We implore Congress to take the lead in reconfiguring the global financial architecture where power does not lie in the hands of the powerful. Very little,” Ruto said .

“A bold, powerful and targeted approach will lift Africa out of its debt burden and transform the world.”

Ruto and first lady Rachel Ruto will join Biden and first lady Jill Biden later on Thursday for a starlit state dinner in the glass pavilion on the South Lawn of the White House, with performances by country stars under the night sky .

“We had an elegant dinner under the stars in a pavilion made almost entirely of glass to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Kenya partnership,” the first lady told reporters on Wednesday.

Mrs. Biden said the pavilion would feature “warm pinks and reds” and have unobstructed views of the White House and Washington Monument.



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