Kenyan President William Ruto Advocates for African Priorities in Engaging Address to Congolese Parliament

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read
William Ruto

Kenyan President William Ruto embarked on his first state visit to Congo-Brazzaville, arriving on Friday, July 7th, for a three-day visit. His Congolese counterpart, Denis Sassou Nguesso, warmly received him upon his arrival. During an hour-long speech delivered to the Congolese Parliament, Ruto touched upon various significant themes, including climate change, African debt, and the need to boost intra-African trade.

In his address, President Ruto emphasized the detrimental impact of climate change on Africa, despite the continent’s minimal contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. He urged African nations to adopt a unified stance during climate negotiations, recognizing that Africa has long been a victim of climate change.

Addressing the critical issue of debt burden in low-income countries, Ruto stressed that taking on more debt cannot serve as a solution. He aptly stated, “When you’re in the hole, stop digging.” Ruto expressed concern over the staggering amount of debt, which exceeded $70 billion in 2022, accounting for approximately 24% of African countries’ GDP. He lamented that African nations allocate more resources to servicing their debt than to any other expenditure.

Furthermore, President Ruto highlighted the need to enhance intra-African trade, which currently stands at a mere 17%. Despite this low figure, he commended initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zlecaf) for promoting cooperation and economic integration across the continent. Ruto acknowledged the potential of such joint ventures to stimulate trade, foster economic growth, and uplift African nations.

On July 8th, President William Ruto is scheduled to sign a series of agreements with his Congolese counterpart before heading to the northern city of Oyo. This visit signifies a significant step towards strengthening bilateral relations between Kenya and Congo-Brazzaville and underscores Ruto’s commitment to addressing key African priorities while fostering regional cooperation and development.

Afaf al Fahchouch

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