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Biden receives Kenyatta, first African head of state whom he invites to the White House

Biden receives Kenyatta, first African head of state whom he invites to the White House
Biden receives Kenyatta, first African head of state whom he invites to the White House

#Other countries : Joe Biden receives Thursday in Washington his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, the first African head of state to be invited to the White House by the Democratic president.

The two leaders will address “the strong bilateral relationship” between the two countries, as well as “the need for transparency and accountability in national and international financial systems,” the White House said ahead of the meeting.

This agenda is made public shortly after the revelations of the “Pandora Papers”: this vast investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) notably asserts that Kenyatta – who claims to want to fight corruption – has secretly with six members of his family a network of eleven offshore companies, one of which has assets valued at $ 30 million.

Asked about this information and its impact on the meeting, the White House spokeswoman said Wednesday that “President (Biden) has often denounced the inequalities in the international financial system”. “That doesn’t mean we don’t meet the people we have differences with,” added Jen Psaki. “We have a number of subjects on which we have an interest to work with Kenya (…) and that will be the main subject” of the meeting, she concluded.

>>> READ ALSO: After Morocco, Kenya negotiates a free trade agreement with the United States

The two presidents will also discuss “efforts to defend democracy and human rights, the promotion of peace and security, how to boost economic growth and tackle climate change,” the White House said. Another subject that could be raised: trade.

The Trump administration had started discussions with Kenya on a free trade agreement but Joe Biden’s team has, according to Nairobi, not resumed negotiations for the time being. When signing contracts with private economic players in New York on Monday, Kenyatta made no secret of his frustration on this subject. “I would like to tell our American friends that it is not possible to start and then end the discussion with their partners on the basis of a change of administration,” he said, according to a statement from its services.

>>> READ ALSO: United States-Africa: Tillerson on a journey to counter China

Kenya is worried about the approach of the expiry date, in 2025, of an agreement which largely exempts its exports to the United States from customs duties. Washington, for its part, takes a dim view of the growing economic influence of China, a great rival, in Africa. But where his predecessor Donald Trump swore by bilateral trade negotiations, Joe Biden has so far shown rather great restraint in the matter. For example, he has given no pledge to the United Kingdom, also eager to sign a free trade agreement with the United States after Brexit.

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