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Kenya gets 5th President: Vows to strengthen economy 

image courtesy of A.Tairo

William Ruto was sworn in today as Kenya’s 5th President, taking over from predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta after his 10-year tenure in office.

Dr. Ruto was sworn in, Tuesday, September 13, 2022, a week after the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by his defeated opponent in a close-fought election he won by portraying himself as an underdog “hustler” battling the elite.

The new Kenyan president is now set to strengthen economic cooperation between Kenya and other African states.

Tens of thousands of people joined African regional heads of state at a packed stadium in Nairobi to watch him take the oath of office, with many spectators clad in the bright yellow of Ruto’s party, cheering loudly and waving Kenyan flags.

“I will work with all Kenyans irrespective of who they voted for,” the 55-year-old said in his inauguration speech, announcing a series of measures to tackle the country’s economic woes.

About 20 heads of state from across Africa attended the event

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Religion was a persistent theme throughout the swearing in ceremony, with leaders from the Christian and Islamic faiths offering prayers for the new president.

African Union Commission Chairman, Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, who witnessed the swearing in ceremony, praised the peaceful transfer of power, saying it was an enduring feature of Kenya’s political maturity.

“Our immediate agenda is to create a favorable business and enterprise environment, decriminalize livelihoods, and support people in the informal sector to organize themselves into stable, viable, and creditworthy business entities,” Dr. Ruto said through his first speech as a full President of Kenya.

“This is the essence of the bottom-up economic model, which creates a path for traders and entrepreneurs to build linkages, experience safety, and enjoy security. We will work with county governments to create frameworks that provide secure trading places in our cities and towns,” he said.

“We shall give priority to the expeditious resolution of our pending bills so that the government can meet its obligations and facilitate better economic performance,” Dr. Ruto told the people of Kenya and other nations.

He said that in the coming weeks, he will advise his government creditors on the mechanism for the resolution of their outstanding payments since his administration is committed to ensuring that they are paid in the shortest time possible. 

Kenya is fully committed to the implementation of the EAC treaty and its protocols of free movement of people, goods, and services. “Equally important is our commitment to the full actualization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” he noted. 

As members of the international community, Kenya shall support a successful Climate Summit in Africa in November, by championing delivery of the finance and technology needed for Africa to adapt to climate impacts, support those in need, and manage the transition, he added.

“My administration is ready to work with global partners to fight pandemics and other health emergencies,” Dr. Ruto said.

Counted among the richest Kenyans, Dr. Ruto is a partner in business chains including tourist hotels in his country.

Kenya stands as the East African economic powerhouse and a host of regional and international companies including global hotel and tourist companies.

Rich with wildlife, historical and cultural heritages, Kenya is among African countries marketing its tourism in key market sources of Europe and the United States of America. It is a tourist hub for East and Central African destinations, banking on its strong air flights and higher standards of hospitality services for tourists visiting other countries in the East and Central African regions.

Taking advantage of its highly developed air services, along with hotel and accommodation facilities with a well-established tourism and travel base, Kenya is now targeting African visitors to complement then fill a gap caused by the downfall of international travelers after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Apolinari Tairo - eTN Tanzania

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