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Ruto’s main agenda as he begins US visit in Atlanta



President William Ruto on Monday touched down in Atlanta to begin his first leg of the State Visit to the US, the first in more than two decades for a Kenyan leader.

His plane touched down at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport shortly after 10am local time and was received by Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman and a delegation of American leaders.

Ahead of the trip, State House in Nairobi had said the State Visit demonstrated a “robust partnership between Kenya and the United States” and termed the event as a fitting tribute to 60 years of diplomatic relations between the two sides.

Washington and Nairobi will officially mark those 60 years when President Ruto is hosted on the southern lawns of the White House by President Joe Biden on Thursday.

Nairobi has indicated the four-day trip will have a full in-tray, focusing on issues such as economic prosperity, trade and investment; defence cooperation, democracy and governance, multilateral and regional issues as well as health cooperation.

Yet President Ruto’s visit comes on the backdrop of campaigns for the 2024 Presidential election in the US and this trip could also punctuate speeches, or even decisions the leaders make here.

The US has vowed to support governance, improved anti-corruption fights, institutional building, civil society support and a free press.

That is besides economic empowerment including digital innovations. That and environmental conservation and fighting climate change have formed part of ongoing discussions to reach the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership(STIP), Biden’s brainchild for cementing relations with Kenya.

In his itinerary, the President was later on Monday expected to visit the Carter Presidential Center where he is expected to tour former President Jimmy Carter Museum and attend a plenary session on the role of Democracy in the US Kenya ties.

President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto arrive in the United States of America to begin a three-day state visit. 

Photo credit: PCS

The Head of State will then Visit the Centre for Disease Control that is Headquartered in Atlanta to see further collaborations in the war against TB, Malaria and HIV/ AID. USAID is a key donor partner in Kenya’s Health Sector.

From Wednesday the Head of State will travel to the US capital, Washington, where he will be received by President Joe Biden.

Discussions in Washington will address trade ties, climate and tapping into the digital economy.

This visit by Ruto is a build-up of the Africa Leaders’ Summit, the Africa Climate Summit and an attempt by the US to cement its position as key partner on matters security in the horn of Africa Region

The State Department said touring cities is part of US Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa to enable people-to-people cooperation and contribution American towards the US foreign policy “and the mutual benefits of expanded societal exchanges with our African partners.”

“President Ruto’s visit to Atlanta reflects the city’s growing global importance and underscores its central role in America’s progress towards a more inclusive democracy,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

“I welcome President Ruto’s engagements with civic leaders on issues of democratic governance while in Atlanta, as well as his focus on our people-to-people ties, public health partnerships, educational exchanges, investments in shared prosperity, and his engagements with Atlanta’s African Diaspora.”

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