While Kenya has reaped significant benefits from President William Ruto’s visit to America, the nation also aims to leverage Kenya to advance its interests in the East African region and the Horn of Africa.

Diplomacy and international relations analysts suggest that Ruto’s visit brings significant gains to America in politics, trade, diplomacy, military, counterterrorism efforts, among other benefits.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that this is an election year in the United States. That’s why the Biden administration invited Ruto and arranged for him to first touch down in Georgia, Atlanta, a state with a significant Black American population. The Democratic Party aims to demonstrate its concern for Africa and the Black population.

“This is because President Biden failed to visit Africa as promised in 2023, thus portraying an image of a leader who doesn’t care about this continent, which is crucial in America’s foreign policy,” added Professor Lumala, who teaches Diplomacy and International Relations at Moi University.

America also aims to benefit from Kenya regarding its involvement in the peace process in Haiti and the restoration of democracy in the Caribbean nation.

Last year, Kenya was endorsed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to lead peace efforts in Haiti by sending 1,000 police officers to collaborate with local law enforcement in fighting criminal gangs.

“America provides financial and training support for this process to realize its interests in exploiting Haiti’s mineral wealth,” explained Professor Lumala.

On his part, Professor Macharia Munene states that America invited President Ruto after feeling threatened by his moves to sign trade cooperation agreements with other countries like China, Russia, and economic blocs like the European Union (EU).

“For instance, last year, Kenya signed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU. Additionally, earlier this year, Kenya concluded trade talks with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Moreover, America aims to benefit by keeping Kenya close so that President Ruto’s administration does not lean more towards China as his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta did,” explained Professor Munene, a lecturer at the American International University – Kenya Branch.

From its perspective, America is committed to funding the expansion project of the Nairobi-Mombasa highway to compete for benefits that China has gained through infrastructure construction in the country, especially the SGR railway.

“The construction projects, railways, and other infrastructure projects financed by China during Uhuru’s tenure greatly benefited its companies, especially in technical aspects, a situation that did not please America,” added Professor Munene.

President Biden also decided to elevate Kenya’s status to a major non-NATO ally, a move seen to advance America’s interests.

This status enables America to sell weapons to Kenya at a time when the government is implementing a plan to bolster the security forces to combat terrorists and other criminals.

America also has a military base on the coast aiding in the fight against terrorism in the region.