President William Ruto

Opening Remarks at a White House Joint Presser with U.S. President Joseph R. Biden

delivered 23 May 2024, East Room, White House, Washington, D.C.

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Thank you, Mr. President. And I want to -- in a very, very sincere way -- thank you, Mr. President, for inviting me to make this state visit to the United States on behalf of the people and government of Kenya.

  I also take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the warm welcome we have received on arrival and the excellent hospitality of the American people.

My visit provides us, Mr. President, with the opportunity to celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations rooted on shared values of freedom, democracy, rule of law, equality, and inclusivity.

My visit takes place at a time when democracy is perceived to be retreating worldwide. The accelerating drift towards regimes indifferent to democratic values is a deep concern to us, and I believe it is time the U.S., working with Kenya, deploys its capabilities and rally like-minded democratic countries to set up the cause for democracy.

During our discussions, we agreed on the significant opportunity for the U.S. to radically recalibrate its strategy and strengthen its support for Africa, as discussed at the U.S.-Africa [2022] Leadership Summit, by enhancing its investment in the institutions of African integration and increasing support for peace and security.

As we take this historic step of elevating our partnership to be more effective in -- in addressing global challenges, it is important for us to appreciate that many countries in Africa, including Kenya, are struggling with an overwhelming convergence of multiple shocks, including extreme climate events, debt distress, and the disruptive up -- upheavals in Europe and the Middle East, whose cumulative impact is to divert national resources from investment in people and economic growth into managing climate-in- -- -induced crisis and servicing sovereign debt.

For this reason, I have underscored the imperative for our partnership to facilitate recovery from this multiple crisis and particularly for the United States of America to take a leading role in a comprehensive debt resolution framework by doubling contribution to the concessionary financing window of the World Bank [IDA 21] and also to work with the IMF on rechanneling SDRs [Special Drawing Rights] to institutions like the Africa Development Bank to further leverage on private-sector funding to support countries. Unless this is done and done immediately, the values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law, are in great jeopardy.

On regional peace and security in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes region, I express optimism that Kenya and the U.S. will innovatively design appropriate defense and security frameworks to help Kenya, as the anchor state and the region in general, to deal with the peace and security challenges that are undermining human well-being, slowing down development, and also having a negative impact on democracy.

We affirmed our mutual commitment to the stabilization of Haiti through the Multinational Security Support Mission.

The Kenya U[S] Climate and Clean Energy Industrial Partnership we have just committed to is an encouraging milestone on our collective journey and builds on the paradigm shift we have inaugurated at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi last year. Accordingly, Africa’s resource potential is a huge opportunity to deploy U.S. technology and investment to catalyze unprecedented growth through green industrialization.

We’ve also agreed to hasten the renewal of the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act [AGOA] to sustain the rising momentum of our investments and exports in the manufacturing space.

Similarly, we agreed to undertake sustainable green growth by facilitating conclusion of our Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership, alongside the renewal of AGOA.

During our discussions, I witnessed firsthand President Biden’s and the U.S. government’s determination to make our partnership work and resolve to spread and deepen the roots of freedom, democracy, security, and prosperity throughout the world.

As my visit comes to a close, I am confident that our engagements have laid a solid foundation for us to continue the work -- the good work we have begun with stronger faith and greater hope for success, because, in Joe Biden, Kenya and Africa have a strong and committed friend.

I thank you.

See also: Transcript of Entire Joint Press Conference

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Page Updated: 5/30/24

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