President William Ruto is in the United States attending the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meetings. President Ruto is leading Kenya’s delegation at the 77th assembly.
President Ruto’s trip to New York, for the UNGA meeting will be a ten-day tour. President Ruto arrived well ahead of time and took time to interact with Kenyan residents living and working in the US.
Silicon Valley ventures
When President Ruto ventured out to the Silicon Valley, in California, he invited American technology companies to set up manufacturing operations and regional offices in Kenya, assuring them of a conducive environment for investments in technology and manufacturing.
Present during this meeting in San Francisco were Chief Executive Officers Tim Cook (Apple), Patrick Gelsinger (Intel), Ruth Porat (Google’s CFO – Alphabet), Brad Smith (Microsoft COO) and other executives from Microsoft, Nike, GAP and Levi Strauss He assured the potential investors that the Kenya Government will carefully consider and address any concerns they may have to increase their confidence in Kenya.
Tim Cook said Apple will consider setting up a developer’s academy and will also tap into Kenya’s green data center potential while Intel’s, Gelsinger said they view Kenya as a good investment destination.
Brad Smith of Microsoft said Kenya poses an impressive return on investment position and is an appealing destination for American venture capital.
Ms Porat of Google said they have committed to investing USD 1 billion in Africa to bolster its digital training and innovation initiatives of which Kenya will get a slice. Visa Global President Oliver Jenkyn said they had picked Kenya as the only African country to host Visa’s global digital innovation studio as Visa had made a commitment to invest USD 1 Billion in Africa over the next five years and a large portion of that will be coming to Kenya.
Electric Power charm
President Ruto signed a Ksh8.7 billion ($59.2 million) deal with US foreign aid agency Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for the acquisition of electric buses to ease traffic congestion in Nairobi Metro Area.
This Blended Finance for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project is geared to accelerate private financing to support the acquisition of electric (including alternative clean energy) buses to operate one or more lines of the BRT system on the Nairobi metropolitan area BRT road lanes, as evident on the MCC website.
The Grain Deal
On Tuesday, President Ruto met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in NY, where he pledged his support for Ukraine during this time of war following an invasion by Russia. President Zelenskyy thanked Kenya for supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as he extended an invitation to President Ruto to visit Ukraine. He also agreed to facilitate the establishment of a grains depot at the Port of Mombasa.
On Wednesday, President Ruto met with United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting.
He also met with Prime Minister of Canada Tradeau, US Secretary of State Blinken, Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Cuba President Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, Switzerland President Alain Berset, President of Angola João Lourenço, Prime Minister of Italy Giorgia Meloni and Kosovo President Vjosa… among others. With all these leaders they explored potential areas of cooperation, trade, green energy initiatives, food security, health care support and exchange of professional knowledge in the future among others.
During President Ruto’s meeting with World Bank President Ajay Banga, he said the World Bank is a valuable partner to Kenya, providing technical and financial assistance towards development programs in the country and that Kenya and Africa are looking forward to the Bank’s support towards the realization of the Nairobi Declaration on climate change in 2023.
The Haiti Mission
On September 20, Haiti and Kenya declared they had established diplomatic relations on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting in New York amid international discussions over the possibility of Kenya leading a United Nations-backed multinational security force to help police fight escalating gang violence in Haiti.
President Ruto and Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry witnessed the signing of the agreement by Minister Jean Victor Génus and Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua at the Kenyan Mission in New York, United States. President Ruto said Kenya will do its part in leading a well-resourced and effective Multinational Security Support Mission in the country.