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US Congress receives formal request for President Ruto to address joint session


A formal request has been issued to the United States Speaker of the House of Representatives and Republican member of Congress Mike Johnson, urging President William Samoei Ruto to address a joint session of Congress.

In the letter, House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Gregory Meeks and Committee Chairman Michael McCaul sought to have President Ruto address the joint session of Congress on or about the 23rd of this month.

“We are writing to respectfully request that you extend a formal invitation to the President of the Republic of Kenya, His Excellency William Samoei Ruto, to address a joint session of Congress on his official visit to the United States,” the letter reads in part.

Ruto would be the first Kenyan President to address a joint session of Congress, and the first African head of state to address Congress since former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 18 years ago.

Such an invitation, the committee said, would underscore the importance of the US-Kenya relationship and send a valuable signal to Africans.

The two nations are celebrating the historic 60th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship.

The committee noted that Kenya has the largest, most diversified economy and a young and growing population.

“It also has a young, ambitious and well-educated workforce eager to contribute to the development of the country.”

These factors, the House Committee said, have helped the country become a leader in mobile money and information and communication technology.

The US-Kenya relations continue to deepen, encompassing strong political, economic, technological, and cultural ties.

Additionally, the US is among Kenya’s largest trading partners and is the latter is one of Africa’s most dynamic economies, boasting a top utilization rate of the US market access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The Committee underscored that Nearly 100,000 Kenyan Americans call the United States home.

Moreover, the United States maintains an overseas military base at Manda Bay, on the Indian Ocean, to support operations to counter terrorist threats from Al-Shabaab.

“These are just some examples of the close ties forged between our nation and Kenya over the past six decades,” the committee added.

The House Committee said Kenya has played an important stabilizing role in East Africa and beyond, in recent years and stands poised to attract significant American investment that can help catalyze African economic growth.

“Members of Congress must understand how Kenya’s active participation in Africa’s future and beyond is vital for peace and stability in the region and aligns with the broader economic and strategic interests of the United States,” the letter further stated.

“We therefore respectfully request that, at your earliest convenience, you invite President William Samoei Ruto to address a joint session of Congress when he is in the United States on or about May 23, 2024.”

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