US to designate Kenya as 'non-NATO ally' during Ruto's state visit | Politics News

US President Biden will brief Congress on Kenya's new status on Thursday.

The United States plans to name Kenya the first key non-NATO ally in sub-Saharan Africa during Kenyan President William Ruto's visit to Washington, DC.

According to the White House, Biden will notify Congress on Thursday that he will nominate Kenya with the largely symbolic title.

There are currently 18 countries designated as non-NATO allies, including Israel, Brazil and the Philippines.

The label will reflect Kenya's rise from a regional partner that has long cooperated with US counter-terrorism operations on the continent to a major global influence.

Kenya will become the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve this status.

The post came during Ruto's visit to the US, which began on Wednesday. It is part of a three-day official visit that also includes bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden on Thursday.

Kenyan President William Ruto
Kenyan President William Ruto speaks during a meeting with the US president and business leaders in the East Room of the White House on May 22, 2024 in Washington. [Susan Walsh/AP]

The Kenyan leader's visit is the sixth official visit by the Biden administration and the first by an African president since 2008.

But the meeting, dubbed the Nairobi-Washington Vision, comes amid Biden's appeals to African nations that the US could be a better partner than China, as Beijing deepens its investments in the continent, often with high-interest loans. with.

In the past year, the African political landscape has been transformed by military coups, wars and lopsided elections that have given US rivals China and Russia more significant influence.

However, Biden and Ruto want creditor countries to ease financial constraints on developing countries constrained by high debt burdens.

“Together we will call on the international community to rally around these elements to support countries with high ambitions with financial support.”

Biden and Ruto will announce new US-backed investments in green energy and health manufacturing on Thursday, as well as plans to reduce Kenya's high debt burden, a senior administration official told Reuters. Will also announce. .

The U.S. will also announce a new $250 million investment in Kenya through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), including $180 million for a major affordable housing project, making the U.S. financing agency's port in Kenya. Folio will exceed $1bn.

Biden has said he plans to visit the African continent in February 2025 if he wins a second term.

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