mcloudy.png
Wednesday July 8th, 2020 10:43AM

Kenyan leader visits White House, rejecting US-China tussle

By The Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump meets Thursday with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who comes to the White House with a warning: Africa is not a battlefield for proxy disputes with countries such as China.

This is a rare visit by an African head of state to Trump's White House and the leaders' second meeting after one in 2018. They are widely expected to discuss the establishment of a free trade agreement between the U.S. and Kenya, though a smiling Kenyatta said Wednesday he could neither confirm nor deny it.

It would be the first time the U.S. has signed such an agreement with a country in sub-Saharan Africa. As East Africa's economic hub, Kenya has strategic importance as the U.S. tries to counter the influence of China, which more than a decade ago surpassed the U.S. as Africa’s largest trading partner.

Kenyatta on Wednesday, in remarks at the Atlantic Council in Washington, warned against a return to the Cold War era where countries across Africa were forced to choose sides. People must stop seeing the resource-rich continent as there for the taking, he said.

Global powers are "behaving like Africa is for the taking," Kenyatta said Wednesday. “We don’t want to be forced to choose. ... We must begin to look at Africa as the world’s biggest opportunity, and I believe that you can dare to look at it with a fresh eye.”

Kenyatta rejected concerns that a free trade agreement with the U.S. would undermine a new continental free trade agreement in Africa aimed at creating the world’s largest common market. Kenya was one of the first to sign the deal, he said.

According to Kenyatta's office, Kenya has been working closely with the U.S. to craft a trade arrangement that guarantees continued market access for Kenya’s products in the U.S. after the African Growth and Opportunity Act ends in 2025. Under AGOA, Kenya enjoys duty-free access to the U.S. market, Kenya’s third largest export destination.

Meanwhile Kenya is struggling to finance its debt due in part to borrowing from the Chinese to finance large infrastructure projects such as a $3.8 billion standard gauge railway line. Part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, the majority-Chinese financed railway is Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence from Britain in 1963. Critics say the 610-kilometer (380-mile) project is overpriced.

Progress is unclear on an agreement between the U.S. and Kenya to build a highway to link the capital, Nairobi, with the port city of Mombasa. The project is seen as Washington's countermeasure to China's growing influence.

In November, U.S. Ambassador Kyle McCarter rejected local media reports saying the Chinese were looking to be awarded the contract after the U.S. abandoned it, calling it fake news. He said the project was on track and would not saddle Kenya with unsustainable debt.

Kenyatta's meeting with Trump is also expected to focus on security and countering extremism, just weeks after the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group based in neighboring Somalia carried out the deadliest attack against the U.S. military in Africa since 2017 when four soldiers were killed in Niger.

Three Americans were killed last month, including a service member and two contractors, and several U.S. aircraft were destroyed at a military base on Kenya’s coast. It was the first al-Shabab attack against the U.S. military in Kenya.

That attack took place as the Trump administration considers reducing its military presence in Africa to focus on Russia and China.

Al-Shabab has launched numerous attacks inside Kenya and is the target of a growing number of U.S. airstrikes inside Somalia during the Trump administration, including 63 last year.

Climate change is another concern for Kenya and countries across Africa, which stands to suffer the most from global warming but is the least equipped to deal with it and contributes to it the least. Kenyatta has said Kenya is the only African nation to reach the goal of making renewable energy 75% of its energy mix.

“My friends, climate change is real,” Kenyatta said at the Atlantic Council. “We are very clear on that.” He said it must be fought collectively.

___

Anna reported from Johannesburg.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Death toll in Turkey avalanche disaster rises to 40
Turkish news agencies reported that search efforts have resumed in eastern Turkey, following two avalanches that killed dozens and left at least one person missing
7:07AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Spain PM meets with separatist Catalan leader to mend ties
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is meeting with the separatist leader of Catalonia in a bid to improve the strained relations between the central government and Spain’s restive northeast
7:04AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Rolling Stones returning to North America for 15-city tour
The Rolling Stones are returning to some North American cities where they haven't played in years
7:04AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
10 Things to Know for Today
Get ready for Thursday, Feb. 6 with a few things to know about the day’s news from The Associated Press
6:23AM ( 58 minutes ago )
Impeachment loses its constitutional gravity in Trump case
President Donald Trump's acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial leaves his political fate in the hands of voters and his place in history to be judged in the passage of time
6:18AM ( 1 hour ago )
NASA's record-setting Koch, crewmates safely back from space
An International Space Station crew including NASA astronaut Christina Koch, who has spent more time in space on a single mission than any other woman, has landed safely in Kazakhstan
6:09AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
10 more sick with virus on one of two isolated cruise ships
Japanese health officials say 10 more people have been sickened with a new virus aboard one of two quarantined cruise ships with some 5,400 passengers and crew aboard
2:37AM ( 4 hours ago )
Buttigieg, Sanders nearly tied as Iowa caucus results narrow
New results from the Iowa Democratic caucuses show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders nearly tied with almost all the votes counted
12:56AM ( 6 hours ago )
Trump barrels into 2020 campaign, emboldened after acquittal
The Senate's impeachment trial has ended, and now President Donald Trump is barreling into his reelection fight with a united Republican Party behind him
12:27AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Women vying for Oscars salute their progress, snubs aside
The mood at Diane von Furstenberg’s lunch for female Oscar contenders could have been downbeat, given the shutout of women directors for Sunday’s awards
5:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
Scotland's finance chief quits over messages to teenager
Scotland’s finance minister has resigned after he reportedly sent hundreds of messages to a 16-year-old boy on social media
5:08AM ( 2 hours ago )
Huawei, guarding US business, says Verizon violated patents
Chinese tech giant Huawei has accused U.S. phone carrier Verizon of violating its patents in a lawsuit, broadening efforts to defend its business in the United States amid government sanctions
5:01AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
Asian economies cut rates, move to blunt impact of virus
Central banks in the Philippines and Thailand have cut their benchmark interest rates as China's neighbors seek ways to soften the impact of measures to contain a virus outbreak that has killed more than 560 people
3:51AM ( 3 hours ago )
Germany sees hefty drop in factory orders in December
Factory orders in Germany declined by 2.1% in December compared with the previous month on a sharp drop in demand from other countries in the eurozone
3:09AM ( 4 hours ago )
Asia stocks surge after Trump acquitted, China virus aid
Asian stock markets have surged after President Donald Trump was acquitted in an impeachment trial and China promised tax cuts and other help to businesses reeling from a virus outbreak
2:48AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Death toll in Turkey avalanche disaster rises to 40
Turkish news agencies reported that search efforts have resumed in eastern Turkey, following two avalanches that killed dozens and left at least one person missing
7:07AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Spain PM meets with separatist Catalan leader to mend ties
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is meeting with the separatist leader of Catalonia in a bid to improve the strained relations between the central government and Spain’s restive northeast
7:04AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Rolling Stones returning to North America for 15-city tour
The Rolling Stones are returning to some North American cities where they haven't played in years
7:04AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Governors warn Trump rule could lead to big Medicaid cuts
Governors of both major political parties are warning that a little-noticed regulation proposed by the Trump administration could lead to big cuts in Medicaid
6:53AM ( 28 minutes ago )
Merkel: Governor's election with far-right help inexcusable
Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned as “inexcusable” the election of a new German state governor with the help of the far-right as well as her own party
6:49AM ( 32 minutes ago )