Home 6 Priorities The scorecard: Kenya’s international diplomatic engagements

The scorecard: Kenya’s international diplomatic engagements

President William Ruto has hosted more than 31 Heads of State and Government, travelled to 24 countries as he seeks to strengthen Kenya’s diplomatic ties.

This has seen Kenya reap mega bilateral deals and his diplomatic star shine dimming his critics who perceived him as a green horn in diplomacy matters. The 40 minutes long declaration of cessation by Kenya to recognize the Sharawi Republic however remains the biggest blot so far in his foreign policy implementation.

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His ascension to the highest office in the land marked the start of his journey to accentuate the place of Nairobi in the community of nations.

“Kenya will continue playing its role in international diplomacy at the bilateral and multi-lateral levels appreciating that we are hosts to major international organizations including the United Nations” said the president during his swearing in ceremony.

From his inaugural address at the United Nations General Assembly, his first major international and diplomatic engagement, it was clear that the President was a man on a mission.

The President has stood out as a champion of climate change mitigation, earning him the position of Head of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change in the African Union.

His passion for the environment was evident as he hosted the inaugural African climate summit in Nairobi which attracted 19 Heads of state and government, top environmentalists, scholars and development partners ahead of COP 28 summit set for December in Dubai

The president has also not shied away from advancing the Pan-African agenda

“The budget of Africa union to a great extent is funded by development partners. What does it say about our ability to make our own decisions?” posed the president during his address the Pan-African parliament in South Africa.

“Traders from Djiboutti selling to Kenya or traders from Kenya selling to Djiboutti have to look for US Dollars. How is US dollars part of the trade between Kenya and Djiboutti?” Asked the president when addressing the Djibouti parliament.

He has also championed for the restructuring of African debts, review of multi-lateral lending models to Africa and intra-trade within the continent.

Additionally, more than 31 Heads of State and Government, key leaders of multi-lateral agencies and top diplomats from Washington and Beijing have visited statehouse.

Notable high profile personalities include; Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Iranian President Ebrahim Rais and Spain Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. The President has also hosted US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson and US Senator Chris Coons.

China’s Director of Central Committee for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi has also met the president begging the question is Kenya looking East or West?

Kiharu Mp Ndindi Nyoro who is also the Chairman of the Budget Committee avers “It’s Kenya’s interests first. East or West, where is Kenya? That is our foreign policy. Where Kenya is getting optimal returns for our association with whatever side of the divide.”

An Opinion that appear to resonate with Diplomacy expert Prof Macharia Munene.

“The policy is neither pro West nor pro East. It’s simply attempts appear balanced and not be beholden to either side” avers Macharia.

Kenya has also inked deals that exempted visa requirements for some countries and opened trade opportunities as part of the economic recovery journey.

The president has also advocated for regional peace in DRC and Sudan as well as condemned coups witnessed in some francophone nations

The biggest blot to his diplomacy profile however remains that in which he cut ties with the Sahrawi Republic despite the fact that President Brahim Ghali was in the country for his inauguration.

The decision was later rescinded within the hour.

President Ghali was among the Heads of state who graced the red-carpet during the Africa Climate Summit.

John Jacob Kioria
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