From education to climate: Biden, Kenyan President William Ruto announce major deals and investments - Hindustan Times
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From education to climate: Biden, Kenyan President William Ruto announce major deals and investments

Reuters | | Posted by Shweta Kukreti
May 23, 2024 10:54 PM IST

Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto on Thursday announced investments in green energy, education and health manufacturing in the East African nation.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Kenyan President William Ruto on Thursday announced investments in green energy, education and health manufacturing in the East African nation and a plan to reduce its debt burden.

US President Joe Biden, right, and William Ruto, Kenya's president, at a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House during a state visit in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Bloomberg)
US President Joe Biden, right, and William Ruto, Kenya's president, at a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House during a state visit in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Bloomberg)

Ruto arrived in Washington on Wednesday as part of a three-day state visit that includes bilateral talks with Biden on Thursday, followed by a state dinner in the evening. Ruto's trip is the sixth state visit hosted by the Biden administration and the first for an African president since 2008.

Here are the key announcements:

DIPLOMACY

Biden will designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally, making it the first sub-Saharan African country to receive the designation, a senior U.S. administration official said. Currently, 18 countries are designated as non-NATO allies, including Israel, Brazil and the Philippines.

The alliance - which is not a mutual defense pact - will bring some additional U.S. aid, including a new $7 million partnership to help modernize Kenya’s National Police Service, with a focus on staff and training development.

The two countries said they would work together to support the Somali government in its fight against terrorism and pressed warring parties in Sudan for a ceasefire.

They will also establish a strategic dialogue on artificial intelligence.

DEBT AND FINANCE

The two countries launched the Nairobi-Washington Vision, a call to the international community to help debt-laden countries like Kenya manage debt while investing in economic growth. It asks international financial institutions to provide coordinated packages of support and on creditor countries to provide forms of debt relief.

The U.S. will soon make available lending of up to $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust to support the poorest countries.

The U.S. also said it would give $250 million for crisis response to the World Bank's International Development Association.

TRADE AND INVESTMENT

Microsoft is partnering with United Arab Emirates-based artificial intelligence firm G42 to invest $1 billion in a data center in Kenya as part of its efforts to expand cloud computing services in East Africa. The data center, which will be built by G42 and its partners, will be powered by geothermal energy and provide access to Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform through a new cloud region for East Africa.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation announced it plans to open an office in Kenya's capital Nairobi, playing a key role in driving its efforts across key sectors in Kenya such as agriculture, health, e-mobility and energy.

The U.S. Agency for International Development will provide $15 million for new activities designed to reduce poverty and malnutrition and address global food security by expanding investment opportunities.

CLIMATE

The two countries launched the U.S.-Kenya Climate and Clean Energy Industrial Partnership. The U.S. and Kenya plan to work with international financial institutions and multilateral trust funds to identify mechanisms for mobilizing investment for clean energy manufacturing and services.

Virunga Power, a U.S. company and partner in the Power Africa effort to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, announced a pipeline of six hydropower projects in advanced stages of development in Kenya. With a total expected investment of $100 million, those projects will be built in sequence over the next five years and are expected to provide 31 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

A $60 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation will fund a four-year program focusing on the transportation needs of underserved groups in Kenya, safer options for women and pedestrians, and climate-friendly public transportation.

HEALTH

Kenya and the United States announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kenya's government will share information, identifying best practices and defining steps toward the development and full launch of the Kenyan National Public Health Institute.

The International Development Finance Corporation is making a $10 million direct loan to Kenyan company Hewa Tele, which supplies medical oxygen to healthcare facilities in Africa, and equity investments in Kasha Global, a Kenya-based e-commerce company that provides personal care, healthcare, and beauty products to low-income women in Kenya and Rwanda.

EDUCATION

The administration intends to provide $3.3 million for a U.S. Department of State program for 60 Kenyan undergraduate students to study for a semester in the United States, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The administration also plans to provide $500,000 to support Kenyan students, scientists, researchers, and engineers by encouraging U.S. universities to increase investment in relationships with Kenyan universities and research institutions.

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