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Secretary Antony J. Blinken and Kenyan President Ruto Before Their Meeting


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good afternoon, everyone.  It’s a real pleasure to welcome President Ruto here to Washington to the summit, and the opportunity to have this conversation.  Kenya is a key strategic partner for the United States.  We’re working together and also applauding Kenya’s leadership on so many regional peace and security issues, including Ethiopia, DRC, the work that we’re doing together as well on counterterrorism.  We greatly value and appreciate as well the president’s leadership on dealing with food insecurity, droughts.  We are building our trade and investment relationship even stronger, and of course we’ve deeply valued Kenya’s leadership on the UN Security Council during its tenure.  So lots to discuss there as well on so many global issues.  And of course, the work that we’ve been doing together on health security, not only dealing with COVID-19 but building a stronger health security infrastructure.

But Mr. President, thank you very much for taking the time today.  It’s wonderful to see you, and the floor is yours.

PRESIDENT RUTO:  Thank you very much, Secretary Blinken.  And congratulations on hosting the Africa-U.S. summit.  I think it is a moment in history that we are recalibrating and re-engineering our relationship, and I think it is a big step in the right direction.

Again, as you have said correctly, Kenya and the U.S. are great friends.  We have done many things together.  Thank you for your support in the many areas that we work together with USAID and all the other agencies, MCC.  In matters to do with health, PEPFAR has been particularly a huge support for our country, the whole health environment.  You have worked with us on our agencies to do with KEMSA.  And so it’s always a good moment when we exchange views, because we have a very robust and expanded relationship.

We will be looking at opportunities on what we can do especially in the health sector.  We have some requests on that space.  We have a huge diaspora between Kenya and the U.S.  We will be seeking to see what we can do.  We have some of the best human capital anywhere in the world, and the U.S. can benefit from that.  We also are looking at what we can do together in agriculture, in water, especially in matters to manage climate change, and what we can do with water harvesting with our dams program to see how we can alleviate the challenges of climate change.

And not to forget the work you supporting us in our region – in Ethiopia, we’ve had various conversations between me and you on what we need to do; the discussions that went on in South Africa, finally Nairobi, and what’s going on on the ground; the interventions we’ve made in the DRC, and I think we’ve made some good progress in both.  And it’s time to review, and we think there are areas that we can do better.  And that’s why I think this consultation is absolutely necessary.

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