Kenya: President Ruto Urges U.S. to Lead Global Debt Relief Efforts

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.

Washington, D.C. — Kenyan President William Ruto has called on the United States to spearhead a comprehensive plan to alleviate global debt distress. During a joint press conference with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, Ruto emphasized the need for the U.S. to double its contribution to concessional financing under the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA) program.

President Ruto said that increased support from the U.S. would significantly address global challenges that currently divert resources from essential development projects to debt servicing. "Doubling the U.S. contribution to the IDA program will greatly assist in tackling issues that hinder development due to debt burdens," he noted.

In response, President Biden affirmed that the United States would champion necessary reforms of the global financial system to address these concerns. He stressed the urgency of these reforms, stating, "Failing to act immediately places freedom, democracy, and security under threat."

The press conference marked a pivotal moment in Ruto's state visit to the U.S., underscoring the shared commitment of both nations to addressing global financial instability and fostering sustainable development.

President Ruto's call for action aligns with his broader agenda during his U.S. visit, which has included discussions on enhancing bilateral relations, increasing investment opportunities, and promoting regional security. The visit aims to strengthen the strategic partnership between Kenya and the United States, addressing both nations' mutual interests in stability and economic growth.

The Kenyan leader's plea for increased U.S. involvement in debt relief initiatives highlights the critical need for collaborative international efforts to ensure financial stability and economic development, particularly in developing countries facing significant debt challenges.

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