Biden welcomes Kenya’s leader as US under pressure in Africa

USA: Kenyan President William Ruto is the first African leader in more than 15 years to make an official state visit to the US.

This is an opportunity for President Joe Biden to demonstrate commitment to Africa at a time when Washington appears to be playing catch-up in its engagement with the continent.

But relations with other African allies are under strain, as strategic rivals including Russia and China challenge traditional areas of Western influence.

At one time Mr Ruto would have been an unlikely candidate to be feted at the White House with the pomp and ceremony granted to only a handful of close allies a year.

The International Criminal Court charged him with crimes against humanity related to the violence that followed Kenya’s 2007 election. But the case collapsed and Mr Ruto has since reinvented himself as an indispensable partner to the US.

Lingering suspicions about his democratic credentials are not the reason that congress decided against inviting him to address a joint session, says US ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman. As far as she knows, it is a scheduling issue.


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