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Ruto’s historic US visit faces scrutiny over domestic issues

todayMay 20, 2024 3

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Kenya’s President William Ruto is set to embark on a historic state visit to the US on 23 May 2024, marking the first visit by an African leader since Ghana’s John Kufuor in 2008. This visit underscores Ruto’s growing influence in the West and his role as a prominent voice for Africa.

Since his election as president in 2022, Ruto has elevated his international profile through advocacy on climate issues and calls for reform of global financial institutions. He hosted the inaugural Africa Climate Summit and has undertaken several high-profile trips, including to China last October.

However, back in Kenya, the media is reporting that Ruto’s US visit has been overshadowed by widespread discontent over proposed tax increases, rising living costs, allegations of government corruption, and the response to recent floods that claimed over 160 lives.

“Ruto has struggled to deliver on promises of radical economic transformation benefiting poor Kenyans,” Nairobi-based economist Anderson Njuki told Semafor Africa, referring to Ruto’s 2022 “Hustler” campaign aimed at empowering the poor and small business owners.

Cameron Hudson, a senior analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NTV news that Ruto must deliver tangible benefits for average Kenyans for the visit to be deemed successful.

Written by: Tonata Kadhila

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