Kenyan President William Ruto becomes first African leader in 15 Years to visit White House

Kenyan President William Ruto becomes first African leader in 15 Years to visit White House

Kenyan President William Ruto made history as the first African leader in 15 years to make an official visit to the White House.

To U.S. President Joe Biden, this visit was significant, as it marked an effort to strengthen ties with African leaders. Washington, often viewed as the “big brother” nation, is trying to catch up in its engagement with Africa’s leaders.

Some political analysts believe this might be a late move by President Biden and his administration, as the U.S. heads toward elections with polls indicating a potential comeback for former President Donald Trump. Since taking office, Biden has primarily focused on Gaza and Ukraine, leading some analysts to believe he has neglected the African continent.

Two years ago, during the America-Africa summit, President Biden stated his commitment to the continent. However, it seems other major powers like China and Russia have built stronger relationships with Africa during Biden’s first term.

Kenya has been a longstanding ally of the U.S. for at least 60 years and is seen as one of the most stable democratic nations in East Africa. Kenya further solidified its positive relationship with the U.S. by pledging to send security officers to Haiti, which has been plagued by gang violence.

However, Kenya faces several domestic challenges, including climate change. During their engagement, President Biden pledged to designate Kenya as the first key NATO ally in sub-Saharan Africa. Biden mentioned plans to discuss this symbolic title with Congress.

President Biden praised the collaborative efforts between Kenya and the U.S. in combating terrorism.

“Our joint counterterrorism operations have degraded ISIS and al-Shabab across East Africa. Our mutual support for Ukraine has rallied the world to stand behind the U.N. charter, and our work in Haiti is helping pave the way to reduce instability and insecurity,” said President Biden.

It remains unclear whether Kenya will shift its support away from Palestinians in the Gaza conflict. The last African head of state to visit the U.S. was President Kufuor of Ghana, and in 2003, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki made a state visit. In 1961, Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba made history as the first African head of state to visit the White House.

Tapiwa Rubaya

Tapiwa Rubaya is the current affairs, fashion and sports reporter at My Afrika Magazine.

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