Since his election in 2022, President William Ruto has embarked on over 40 diplomatic trips abroad, addressing key summits and conferences.
Notably, he has been a vocal advocate on various global issues, including what he has described as Africa’s need to dedollarise and the need for foreign powers to play a much bigger role in mitigating the effects of Climate Change.
Kenyans.co.ke takes at some of the highlights that happened over the course of the year.
Africa Climate Summit
President Ruto hosted the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, attracting over 30,000 delegates.
In his speech, he highlighted Africa’s minimal contribution to pollution yet he observed that the continent was bearing the brunt of climate change effects. He thus called on developed nations to play a bigger role in line with their carbon emissions.
President William Ruto speaking during the launch of the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi on September 4, 2023.
Ruto concluded the summit with the Nairobi Declaration, positioning it as the foundation for Africa’s unified stance on global climate change initiatives.
“We march on with the Nairobi declaration. This will be a basis for Africa’s common position in the global climate change process.”
Pan African Parliamentarians Summit
Addressing the summit, Ruto received a standing ovation for his articulate advocacy for African rights.
He expressed concern about the mistreatment of African leaders in high-level discussions and emphasised the need for meaningful participation.
“While we are invited to those summits, we are given limited time, then lined up, 50 of us, for photos, and unfortunately that’s the only thing we go back home with.”
European Union Parliament
In a milestone speech at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France in November, President Ruto called for global partnerships with African countries.
He urged collaboration on climate change issues and advocated for sustainable energy transitions.
President Ruto articulated matters of partnership and collaboration between the continent and Kenya.
He also continued with his advocacy for climate change asking the EU members to take note of climate conversation and deliberate as they approached the COP28 summit.
“Cooperation that does not lock in developing countries in fossil fuel dependency, but allows them to advance alongside the rest of the world in the transition to sustainable energy,” Ruto lobbied.
Ruto received a standing ovation from the EU MPs who appreciated the points the Head of State delivered in his remarks.
United Nations General Assembly
At the United Nations General Assembly, President Ruto proposed sending police to Haiti, drawing attention to the neglect and conflict in the country.
He highlighted the need to bridge the gap between rich and poor countries through reconstituting financial models, pointing out mistrust between developed and developing nations.
“Africa is neglected and sidelined by the International community, and we need to step in and help in the conflict. We must forge towards bridging the gap between rich and poor countries through reconstituting financial models.”
In his maiden speech at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ruto called for youth incorporation in Union Summits and policy-making.
He emphasised Africa’s need to be self-reliant, stating that 60% of African development programmes are financed from abroad.
“The demands of our challenging time require an AU that can pursue multiple urgent and critical interventions using internally mobilised resources. Chronic dependence on well-meaning partners is starkly inconsistent with this aspiration.”
President William Ruto addressing the 36th Session of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on Saturday, February 18, 2023.