Biden to host Kenyan President Ruto for talks on debt relief

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden will host Kenyan President William Ruto for discussions expected to cover debt relief for Kenya, and global issues involving Haiti, Ukraine, and Sudan.

Kenya faces significant liquidity challenges. A senior U.S. official told media that the U.S. is urging major creditors, like China, to offer debt relief to Kenya.

“We think it’s essential that responsible debtors provide reprieves for countries like Kenya, whether that’s by debt service suspensions or via new grant assistance,” the official said.

The U.S. is also advocating for international financial institutions to offer low-cost financing to Kenya and other nations.

During the state visit, significant announcements regarding debt relief are anticipated. The visit aims to counter China’s growing influence in Africa. Last month, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary Jay Shambaugh warned China against profiting from debt service payments without offering follow-on loans.

Eric LeCompte of Jubilee USA Network noted that Ruto’s visit signals U.S. policy toward Africa, emphasizing that Ruto represents broader African interests. Recently, African leaders urged wealthy nations to increase contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association to support development and combat climate change.

Biden and Ruto will also discuss expanding U.S.-Kenyan security cooperation to address global issues. Kenya had agreed to deploy police to Haiti but paused the plan in March.

Biden and Ruto will hold a joint news conference on Thursday, followed by a state dinner.

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