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Biden Pledges to Designate Kenya as Major Non-NATO Ally

NAIROBI. — In a historic move, President Joe Biden announced on Thursday his intention to designate Kenya as a major non-NATO ally of the United States, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to receive this status.

The announcement came during Kenyan President William Ruto’s three-day visit to the U.S., marking a significant milestone in the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

Speaking at a joint press conference at the White House, President Biden described the decision as “a fulfillment of years of collaboration,” highlighting the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Kenya.

“Our joint counterterrorism operations have degraded ISIS [ISIL] and al-Shabab across East Africa, our mutual support for Ukraine has rallied the world to stand behind the UN Charter, and our work together on

Haiti is helping pave the way to reduce instability and insecurity,” Biden told a news conference at the White House on Thursday, according to Aljazeera.

The major non-NATO ally status confers a variety of military and financial advantages that enhance defense cooperation between the U.S. and the designated country.
These benefits include eligibility for training, loans of equipment for cooperative research and development, and prioritized access to U.S. defense supplies.

President Ruto expressed gratitude for the designation, emphasizing its significance for Kenya’s security and development.

The announcement comes at a time of increasing geopolitical interest in Africa, with major powers vying for influence on the continent. Kenya’s designation as a major non-NATO ally positions it as a key partner for the U.S. in a strategically vital region, particularly in the context of counterterrorism efforts and economic development initiatives.

Kenya has been a critical ally in the fight against terrorism, especially in the Horn of Africa, where it has played a pivotal role in combating the militant group Al-Shabaab.

The enhanced defense cooperation is expected to strengthen Kenya’s counterterrorism capabilities and contribute to regional security.

The economic dimension of the U.S.-Kenya relationship is equally significant.
Kenya is one of Africa’s largest and most dynamic economies, and the new designation is likely to facilitate greater investment and trade between the two countries.

The Biden administration has been keen to promote economic partnerships that support sustainable development and create jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

Experts have welcomed the move, noting its potential to deepen U.S.-Africa relations.
“This designation is a clear signal of the United States’ commitment to partnering with African nations in a meaningful way,” said John Munene, an expert on Foreign Relations.

“It reflects Kenya’s strategic importance and the critical role it plays in regional stability and economic development.”

Source: All East Africa

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