Kenya: Biden, Ruto Urge Global Lenders to Ease Debt Burden

First lady Jill Biden, second from left, and U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, greet Kenya's President William Ruto and first lady Rachel Ruto as they arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, May 22, 2024.

Kenyan President William Ruto is the first African leader to make a state visit to Washington since 2008. He and Joe Biden are set to announce a slew of new US investments in the East African country.

Kenyan President William Ruto and US President Joe Biden will call on major economies to reduce the debt burden crushing developing countries on Thursday.

Ruto's three-day trip to Washington is the first state visit to the US by an African leader in more than 15 years.

The Kenyan president said on Wednesday that his talks with Biden would focus on "how we can have a fairer international financial system where all countries are treated equally."

Leaders hail Nairobi-Washington Vision

The two leaders are set to announce a plan called the Nairobi-Washington Vision.

It calls on creditor nations to reduce financing barriers for developing countries that have high debt burdens, and to offer debt relief where necessary.

Ruto and Biden will also call on multilateral banks to offer better financing terms.

It comes as the US attempts to position itself as a more favorable economic partner to African countries than China.

"Together we will call to the international community to come together around these elements to support high-ambition countries with high-ambition financial support," the White House said in a fact sheet ahead of the announcement on Thursday.

Fresh US investment in Kenya

The White House has announced $250 million (€230.6 million) in grants for the World Bank's International Development Association to assist poorer countries facing crises.

Biden will also announce a slew of investments in Kenya specifically, including a $180 million loan to Acorn Holdings to develop affordable student housing and a $10 million loan to Kentegra Biotechnology to build a new plant for organic pesticide ingredients.

zc/rt (AP, Reuters)

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