Joe Biden

Joint Statement by President Biden and President William Ruto of Kenya

May 23, 2024

This year, as the United States and Kenya commemorate our 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, we celebrate the remarkable growth of our relationship. The U.S.-Kenya partnership is expanding from a regional to global one.

Today, we, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. of the United States and President William S. Ruto of Kenya, reinforce our mutual commitment to leading democracies that deliver prosperity, security, and opportunity. Africa stands primed for historic opportunity, and together, we celebrate that Kenya has risen to the moment as a regional leader in clean energy and digital transformation, and as an anchor partner for health, security, and democracy.

We are preparing together for our next 60 years—and beyond—as friends and partners. Current global trends toward geopolitical instability, democratic backsliding, and rapid technological change have increased uncertainty for many nations. Yet the U.S.-Kenya bond is stronger than ever. We are committed to deepening cultural connections, expanding opportunities for economic growth, and deepening our shared commitment to democratic values and a secure future for all.

To further enhance our relationship, today we announce several initiatives that foster meaningful democratic reform, protect public health, expand our people-to-people connections, advance climate solutions, boost trade and investment, mitigate debt burdens in developing countries, accelerate digital innovation, and bolster global security. As we look to the next six decades of the U.S.-Kenya relationship, we celebrate a partnership that is delivering for the people of the United States, Kenya, and beyond.

Democracy Delivers

Our partnership is anchored in democracy and driven by people. Together we share the belief that democracy requires ongoing work, and thrives when we commit to continually strengthen our democratic institutions. This historic State Visit is about the Kenyan and American people and their hopes for an inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future for all. It also showcases the depth and breadth of our democracies. Even as we two Presidents meet, this visit features mayors, governors, legislators, businesspeople, educators, and civil society—underscoring our democracies are far bigger than any one person, institution or interest.

The United States and Kenya know that a robust civil society is necessary for democracy to thrive. We are working together to ensure the United States' Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal benefits Kenya with programs that defend democratic elections and political processes, increase women's political participation and leadership, counter gender-based violence online and offline, and advance digital democracy. The United States commends and commits to supporting the groundbreaking civil society protections contained in Kenya's recently operationalized Public Benefits Organization Act. The United States also intends to assist Kenya's efforts to strengthen institutions and combat corruption, including investing in anti-corruption controls and creating space for independent police management and oversight. We continue to strengthen the Open Government Partnership, which Kenya co-leads and the United States co-founded, including through robustly fulfilling our open government commitments at home.

The United States and Kenya affirm our commitment to upholding the human rights of all, and together we stand with people around the world defending their rights against the forces of autocracy. As part of our efforts to continually strengthen our own democracies, Kenya and the United States are continuing bilateral dialogues that reinforce commitments to human rights and bolster the integrity of democratic institutions. Together we also aim to improve security sector governance and accountability, ensure respect for equality and non-discrimination, and defend the rights of all, especially women and other marginalized groups. We commit to protecting civil society autonomy, defending media freedom, and fortify the rule of law to create an enabling environment for growth and prosperity.

Deepening our Partnership to Look After our Collective Health

The United States and Kenya have long been active partners in our efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. To optimize public health expertise and systems, we affirm our collaboration on essential public health services including a high-capacity workforce, disease surveillance, laboratory work, emergency management and response, and scientific research.

Together we also reaffirm our commitment to end HIV as a public health threat in Kenya by 2027, and we are working together to develop a "Sustainability Roadmap" to integrate HIV service delivery into primary health care, ensuring quality and impact are retained. With more than $7 billion in support from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) over the last 21 years, the United States and Kenya have long worked hand-in-hand to responded to the HIV epidemic. We jointly commit to determine how to ensure long-term sustainability of the HIV response in Kenya.

To optimize public health expertise and systems, we pledge to jointly build up the Kenya National Public Health Institute (NPHI) through a partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention—the U.S.'s NPHI. To address the challenges of the future, public health decisions must be data-driven, so over the visit the United States committed to support the digitization of health systems in communities and facilities across Kenya. Additionally, the U.S. CDC and the Kenya Medical Research Institute formally pledged to enhance their collaboration around innovation, research, and implementation science. A skilled and ready workforce is foundational to improving health security, and our partnership is helping build emergency management workforce capacity in the United States and Kenya.

Finally, to ensure that our collective progress in the fight against global infectious diseases is sustained, our partnership must evolve to build on the foundations of Kenya's vibrant medical manufacturing sector. Together, we seek to promote technological collaboration between U.S. and Kenya businesses, increase access to capital to grow Kenya's pharmaceutical and device manufacturing sector, and strengthen regulatory capacity to ensure Kenyan products can be brought to international markets. We have witnessed that these types of partnerships deliver. With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Revital Healthcare, a Kenya-based company, has built the largest medical diagnostic plant in Africa, capable of producing 240 million diagnostic tests for HIV, malaria, dengue, syphilis, hepatitis A&B, and pregnancy each year.

Fostering People-to-People Ties to Improve and Enrich Lives

Underpinning our shared dedication to address global challenges are the strong and enduring connections between Kenyans and Americans. Every year thousands of Kenyans and Americans travel between our countries to visit family, conduct business, study, and engage in tourism. These ties of friendship and cooperation are the driving force behind the successful partnership between our governments.

As our countries celebrate 60 years of bilateral relations, with this visit we are proud to announce a new educational exchange program with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as fields of the future. The Kennedy-Mboya Partnerships program honors the personal bond between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Kenyan political activist and academic Tom Mboya that brought hundreds of Kenyans to the United States to pursue higher education. This initiative aims to foster a new generation of Kenyan leaders, continuing the important work of building people-to-people connections and advancing our shared agenda.

The United States and Kenya continue to work together to build the competencies needed for our collective future. We commit to doing so by promoting the development of strategic STEM sectors for our long-term and sustainable economic growth. New initiatives supported by over $25 million in public and private sector funding between U.S. and Kenyan educational institutions—including Historically Black Colleges and Universities—designed to establish new linkages, partnerships, and exchange programs between American and Kenyan students, educators, and researchers.

In equipping the workforce of tomorrow the United States and Kenya also commit to strengthen cooperation on tertiary education in the areas of executive and leadership training and public policy, and through concrete collaborations between U.S. and Kenyan post-secondary institutions. The United States and Kenya welcome Kenya's selection as the first country to be added to a new fellowship program for mid-career government officials that Johns Hopkins University intends to launch this fall. Separately, the United States Foreign Service Institute and the Kenyan Foreign Service Academy have committed to closer cooperation and to explore Kenya's participation in an international community of practice for diplomatic training.

The United States and Kenya continue our robust collaboration in the creative industries. This cooperation offers unique pathways for amplifying voices from across diverse societies, and for connecting our people to experiences and stories that inspire us all.

Cooperating on Climate Action and Green Industrialization

As leaders, we share the conviction that while climate change is the existential challenge of our time, our response to it is the most significant economic opportunity of the 21st century. Today we announce the launch of a U.S.-Kenya Climate and Clean Energy Industrial Partnership to elevate climate action and green industrialization as a critical pillar of our bilateral relationship. It also signals our intent to advance a new green growth framework throughout Africa. Through this partnership, the United States and Kenya plan to prioritize cooperation across the three mutually-supportive areas of clean energy deployment, clean energy supply chains, and green industrialization. The United States and Kenya pledge to leverage our countries' comparative advantages in the clean energy sector and to develop resilient value chains for low-emission goods and climate-forward services, including electric vehicle supply chains and e-mobility, carbon capture and storage technologies, green agricultural processing, clean cooking technologies, and green data centers. In our bilateral engagement, the United States and Kenya commit to consult on key policy, trade, and regulatory reforms to support the development of and investment in green industrial opportunities.

Both sides acknowledge the importance of expanding trusted supply chain networks, and pledge, through this Partnership, to explore how integrated and expanded clean energy supply chains and services can help the United States, Kenya, and Africa collectively reduce emissions as we simultaneously grow our economies. We have started this Partnership through clean technology and investment engagements with Kenya, collaborating with companies that invest in clean energy development and energy-intensive industries. The U.S. Department of Energy is working with the Government of Kenya to launch and shape such engagements.

President Biden commends President Ruto's signature Africa Green Industrialization Initiative (AGII) as a groundbreaking effort to drive African agency in the energy transition, building on the core tenets of the Nairobi Declaration, which commits to bold action at a scale commensurate to the challenge at hand. To this end, the United States and Kenya intend to leverage the successful model of President Biden's "government-enabled, private-sector-led" approach to sustainable economic growth through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) and mobilize multilateral financial, technical, and regulatory support across public and private sectors to realize the vision of AGII, particularly to support the growth of clean energy manufacturing in Kenya and the region. To this end, Kenya is joining the Clean Energy Supply Chain Collaborative (CESC) as a strategic launch partner in Africa. The United States and Kenya plan to work with international financial institutions and multilateral trust funds, and other partners, to identify effective mechanisms to mobilize investment to support the AGII and position Kenya and regional partners to seize the historic economic opportunities of the clean energy.

As the globe transitions to clean energy, the United States recognizes Kenya as a model: with over 90 percent of Kenya's energy produced from renewable sources, clean energy is already at work there. U.S. companies and investors have been strong partners of Kenya in this sector. Working together, our partnership will help advance the next epoch of human development into a new green trajectory.

Encouraging Trade and Investment to Generate Prosperity

This visit also demonstrates how together, we are drawing in the private sector to drive shared prosperity. Like the United States, Kenya is an engine for innovation, and our trade and investment partnership generates well-paying jobs and expands sustainable economic growth. This week, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation alone announced deals that take its portfolio in Kenya to over $1 billion and we witnessed the signing of multiple private sector deals including the Coca-Cola Company's new $175 million investment in Kenya. We expect these and other deals to generate hundreds of millions more in economic activity, all enabled by Kenya's status as a stable democracy with a growing skilled and innovative labor market.

Working together over the past two years, we have reduced barriers to private-sector investments between our countries. This week, we are going further with a new commercial and investment partnership memorandum of understanding that seeks to identify and remove constraints to trade and investment, and to identify and facilitate commercial opportunities. By improving the business climate, we are creating thousands of new jobs and dozens of new investment opportunities that benefit both the United States and Kenya. We welcome that private companies have worked with the U.S. and Kenyan governments to transform these reforms into impactful, innovative, and inclusive projects.

The United States and Kenya have committed to work to conclude an agreement by the end of the year on an ambitious U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership that reflects mutually shared goals and values. Under this initiative, our governments resolve to pursue high-standard commitments in multiple areas with a view to increasing investment, promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth, protecting workers, benefiting consumers and businesses, and supporting African regional economic integration.

We believe bilateral trade and investment ties are the foundation of our joint prosperity. The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is the cornerstone of the U.S. trade relationship with Kenya and across sub-Saharan Africa, and we would welcome its timely reauthorization. AGOA is about more than just trade: it supports policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption, and promote respect for human rights and workers' rights. We believe that trade policies should foster inclusive and sustainable development, support regional integration, and ensure that all of our respective peoples—including and especially workers—benefit from the global economy.

Kenya's apparel sector is evidence of the power of this approach. Since the passage of the AGOA in 2000, Kenya's apparel sector has forged robust partnerships with local manufacturers and U.S. buyers, and exports to the U.S. have reached record levels and are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Ongoing investments by USAID and the Kenyan private sector are expected to generate an additional $250 million in apparel exports to the United States and create over 20,000 new jobs. Crucially, these investments diversify U.S. supply chains and empower Kenya's apparel sector by developing domestic production of packaging, labeling, and other essential materials.

With this visit, we mark the official launch of the Kenya Urban Mobility and Growth Threshold Program, with $60 million in economic assistance through the U.S. Government's Millennium Challenge Corporation. The program supports improvements in urban land use and strengthens the planning and preparation of a more integrated transport systems with investments in clean public transport and safer transport options for pedestrians, women and other underserved groups.

Debt, Development, and Sustainable Finance

The United States and Kenya are determined to lead a global transition to the economies of the future. To achieve this, the international community must take bold action to address mounting debt burdens in developing countries. Far too many countries are forced to make difficult decisions between paying back creditors and making critical investments in their own economy and people. Today, we launched the Nairobi-Washington Vision. It calls for countries with high ambition with respect to investments in their own development and addressing global challenges to be met with equally high ambition from the international community so that they do not have to choose between investing in their future and paying their debts.

The United States is stepping up its support to the international financial institutions to help make this shared vision a reality. As part of evolving the multilateral development banks, the United States has worked with Kenya and other shareholders over the past year to secure reforms to unlock over $250 billion in new lending headroom at these institutions. In addition, the United States intends to make available in the coming weeks lending of up to $21 billion to the International Monetary Fund to support financing needs for the poorest countries, and has made available this week $250 million in new financing to the International Development Association's Crisis Response Window at the World Bank to support crisis response in the world's poorest countries. The United States also championed the expansion to select countries in Sub-Saharan Africa of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), where the United States is the largest shareholder. And together, the United States and Kenya worked to successfully secure Kenya's membership in the EBRD to boost private sector development in the country.

Going forward, the United States and Kenya continue to collaborate toward enacting policy changes and securing resources to ensure that transparent, sustainable, and resilient financing replaces opaque and unsustainable lending. We are cooperating to finalize an ambitious policy and financial package for the replenishment of the International Development Association, which provides crucial resources to the world's poorest and most vulnerable countries. President Biden has also requested funding in his fiscal year 2025 budget that would enable $36 billion in new lending capacity at the World Bank that, together with contributions from international partners, could provide an additional over $100 billion boost to World Bank financing capacity over time.

Cooperating on Digital Technology to Deliver Innovation, Progress, and Inclusion

Today we also pledge to bolster the already strong cooperation between the U.S. and Kenyan technology sectors. The success of our economic partnerships in all sectors relies on digital innovation, secure and resilient technology supply chains, and highly skilled workforces. We welcome the private companies that have worked with the U.S. and Kenyan governments to initiate impactful, innovative, and inclusive investments. Since our countries began working together to improve opportunities in the digital economy, a growing list of American technology companies have opened innovation hubs and made major investments in Kenya to the benefit of both of our nations.

The United States and Kenya seek to work together to uplift the Kenyan model for digital transformation in Africa, especially through its dynamic digital ecosystem known as the "Silicon Savannah." in our collaboration to focus private sector attention on the Silicon Savannah, and in partnership with President Biden's Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, we aim to advance digital transformation and inclusion in Kenya and across the African continent.

The United States views Kenya as a strong emergent partner in building resilient semiconductor supply chains. Accordingly, the United States plans to develop options to expand Kenya's technical workforce and strengthen its regulatory environment to help attract further private investment and cultivate potential linkages to the U.S. semiconductor supply chain. To this end, the United States will work with Congress to partner with the Government of Kenya to explore opportunities to grow and diversify the global semiconductor ecosystem, specifically in the assembly, testing and packaging sector, under the International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund, created by the CHIPS Act of 2022.

Kenya and the United States are committed to enhancing technical and policy cooperation to advance the bilateral cybersecurity relationship. We recognize cybersecurity is the foundation for a secure and resilient digital ecosystem. We both underscore our commitment to the Framework for Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace. Bilateral cooperation should extend to regional outreach and information sharing between among likeminded partners to strengthen East Africa's cyber posture. Our governments, with private sector partners, look forward to developing Kenya's capacity through telecommunications and data infrastructure to support long-term digital growth.

Together, we remain committed to our recently announced partnership to harness Artificial Intelligence (AI), facilitate trusted free flows of data, and accelerate digital upskilling. Building on this initiative, the governments of the United States and Kenya intend to establish a Strategic Dialogue on AI to discuss deepening our collaboration to ensure the development and deployment of safe, secure, and trustworthy AI systems.

Partnering on Regional Challenges and Global Security

Underscoring the elevation of our strategic relationship, President Biden announced his intent to designate Kenya as a Major Non-NATO Ally—the first such designation for a sub-Saharan African country. This is a powerful symbol of the close relationship our two countries share, and we welcome the increased cooperation on security and mutual priorities this action signals.

This decision also reflects United States' respect for Kenya's increasingly significant contributions to solving regional and global challenges. Together, we express dismay at the deepening humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa and the threat of famine caused by war and exacerbated by extreme climatic conditions, including acute drought followed by recent record floods. We share an ongoing commitment to ensuring humanitarian response and food security development assistance keeps step with the challenges facing the region and beyond.

President Biden appreciates Kenya for engaging in multiple efforts to de-escalate conflicts in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as between Somalia and Ethiopia. The United States and Kenya continue to work together to mediate regional crises, protect civilians from atrocities, and support efforts aimed at restoring peace and addressing the root causes of conflict. We call on the warring parties in Sudan to facilitate unhindered humanitarian access and immediately commit to a ceasefire. We reiterate our shared commitment to a negotiated diplomatic solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and support for the Luanda and Nairobi processes.

In Somalia, we continue to work together to support the Somali government in its fight against al-Shabaab, and reaffirm our strong cooperation in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism. We continue to discuss the options for a multilateral mission to follow the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

The United States also recognizes the longstanding generosity of Kenya in hosting refugees and providing protection to vulnerable populations in the region displaced by natural disasters, conflict, and persecution. The United States and Kenya reiterate the importance of building a strong asylum system in Kenya, partnering on the integration of refugees and host communities, and supporting the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Together the United States and Kenya expect to focus on financial inclusion and refugee contributions to Kenya's economic development through access to business, employment, and education opportunities, as well as access to commercial and public services.

Kenya is a significant contributor to peace support operations and has deployed troops to secure peace in African nations and throughout the world. The United States appreciates and supports Kenya's leadership, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 2699, in coordinating the Multinational Security Support Mission to Haiti. The United States plans to provide more than $300 million in assistance and in-kind support to the mission. The deployment of Kenyan police to Haiti, where 1,000 of Kenya's police aim to bring much-needed safety and security to the people of this Caribbean nation is a testament to Kenya's global commitment, reach, and impact.

We reaffirmed our shared commitment to a rules-based international order, respect for territorial integrity, and the sovereignty of all countries. Across the globe, we have seen these tenets tested by illegal and unjustified actions, including the attempted seizure of territory. All democracies must stand firm in our support for the core principles of the UN Charter.

Today, we look to the next 60 years of U.S.-Kenyan relations with optimism. We have reaffirmed our partnership, its foundation, and the aspirations we share for the future. We are moving beyond a regional focus to taking on global challenges together. We share the commitment that democracy must—and can—deliver on citizens' priorities. And we are harnessing the power of the private sector to implement creative solutions to some of our most intractable challenges, and to leverage emerging opportunities. With this visit, we celebrate a partnership that is delivering for the people of the United States, Kenya and beyond.

NOTE: An original was not available for verification of the content of this joint statement.

Joseph R. Biden, Joint Statement by President Biden and President William Ruto of Kenya Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/372421

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