US names Kenya as major non-NATO ally

U.S. President Joe Biden welcomes Kenyan President William Ruto during an official White House State Arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2024. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
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Kenya may soon become the first sub-Saharan African country to be designated a major non-NATO ally of the United States, according to a source familiar with the plans.

According to Business Insider Africa, this move signifies Washington’s efforts to bolster its relationship with Kenya, a country that has historically maintained close ties with Russia and China, Reuters reported.

President Joe Biden’s decision to grant Kenya this designation aligns with the country’s preparations to deploy forces to Haiti. This deployment is part of a United Nations-led mission aimed at addressing the security crisis in the Caribbean nation.

As President Biden welcomed Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a meeting with business executives, he announced his intention to visit Africa in February, following the U.S. presidential election. This visit is seen as part of Biden’s broader strategy to strengthen ties with African nations.

Biden and Ruto are scheduled to meet again in the Oval Office on Thursday, followed by a joint news conference and a state dinner. Senior administration officials indicated that their discussions will cover a range of topics, including trade, debt relief, and the geopolitical futures of Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other regions.

In a significant development on Wednesday, Biden unveiled plans to initiate a new era of technological cooperation between the U.S. and Kenya. This partnership will focus on critical areas such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and semiconductors. Although the security designation was not explicitly mentioned, this initiative aims to deepen the collaboration between the two countries in vital technological fields.

Additionally, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is set to announce $250 million in new investments, expanding its portfolio in Kenya to over $1 billion. This investment is expected to further solidify economic ties and support Kenya’s development goals.