Dr. William Ruto is outside the country for his first foreign assignment with a number of scheduled state meetings, coming a week after he was ceremoniously sworn in as Kenya’s fifth President.
Ruto is scheduled to lead Kenya’s delegation to the 77th United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, United States Wednesday, September 21, 2022.
“President Ruto will also seize the opportunity to engage other select World leaders on priority areas of bilateral relation,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He is expected to chair a meeting of African leaders on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and global leadership on the continent and other emerging issues including climate change.
His first foreign trip will also see Kenya cement its bilateral relations with a number of foreign countries including the U.S for trade agreements under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a piece of legislation that was approved by the U.S. Congress in May 2000.
According to the Office of the U.S Trade Representative, Kenya is currently U.S’s 96th largest goods trading partner with Ksh.132.5 billion ($1.1 billion) in total (two way) goods trade. Canada is US largest trading partner followed by Mexico, China and Japan.
Kenya’s goods exports to U.S totaled Ksh.43.8 billion (US$401 million); goods imports totaled Ksh.80.3 billion (U.S$.667 million). The U.S. goods trade deficit with Kenya was Ksh.27.2 billion (U.S$.266 million) in 2019. Kenya was the United States’ 86th largest supplier of goods imports in 2019.
The President will also give debut address to the UN and hold other bilateral talks with several Heads of States and Governments.
At the bilateral level, the Head of State will lead Kenya’s quest to harness relations with the U.S. This will be guided by the five pillars bilateral strategic dialogue partnership.
He will also attend to a working session with senior representatives of the American Businesses during which he will urge for increased trade and investment between the two countries.
Ruto will also seize the opportunity to engage other select world leaders on priority areas of bilateral relations.
In his capacity as Kenya’s President, he will also chair a meeting of Conferences of African Heads of States on the Climate Crisis (CAHOSCC)
Participation at the highest level in the UNGA is particularly important for Kenya. This is because Kenya is seeking to complete the second year of its non-permanent membership to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
The president has been outside the country since Sunday when he toured the United Kingdom (U.K) for the burial ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II who was laid to rest on Monday, September 19.
His first foreign trip comes a week after he was sworn into office as Kenya’s fifth President, taking over from Uhuru Kenyatta who concluded his ten-year reign on September 13.