A bilateral meeting between the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden and his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta was held on Thursday. This is the first state visit by an African president to the court of the newly elected US president. The meeting is part of a new course that the US presidency will adopt towards the African continent.
Various issues were at the center of the meeting, from security to climate change, but a prominent position is still held by the management of the pandemic and the supply of vaccines. On this issue, the two heads of state have shown divergent positions, where Kenyatta has shown complaints about the management of aid to the African continent, during the crisis due to the covid-19; President Biden did not agree on the lack of support to the African continent. During the meeting, the US President announced a one-off supply of 17 million doses of Johnson&Johnson vaccine, and another supply by the end of the year to the entire African Union.
A delicate theme that emerged during the meeting is the issue of climate change. Kenyatta asked his counterpart to continue on the path traced by the Paris agreements, resuming cooperation with the signatory countries, in this sense, after the slowdown during the Trump administration. The African president argued that his continent is already starting to see the first results of climate change, and therefore considers this issue very urgent.
In terms of security, Kenya represents one of the main US allies in the region. For this reason it is also one of the largest recipients of US aid, the fifth with a total of $544 million in 2020 alone. The amount of military aid, including equipment and troop training, is also high. In the area, the U.S. relies on Kenyatta’s country for control of al-Shabab jihadism and, recently, for the Ethiopian conflict that broke out in Tigray.