July 13, 2024

Kenyan President William Ruto demands respect for African leaders after US-Africa Summit group meetings with Biden and Blinken, says they are often mistreated and treated like school kids by other world leaders

Kenyan President William Ruto has emphasized that African leaders should be respected on the global stage and not be treated as children by world leaders. Speaking at the 2023 IGW African Leadership Ceremony with Mo Ibrahim, President Ruto stressed that African leaders are elected by their people and deserve the same level of respect as leaders from any other part of the world.

The President referred to his attendance at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington DC with President Joseph R. Biden last December. During the summit, 50 African leaders were present but were unable to have a one-on-one meeting with President Biden. President Ruto criticized these types of arrangements where African presidents travel the world to meet with the leader of one country, stating that it was unfair.

He suggested that the African Union should attend group meetings on behalf of Africa instead. By doing so, African leaders can work together and be better represented on the global stage.

This reflects a growing sense of pride and self-determination among African leaders who are pushing back against Western dominance and demanding greater representation in global affairs.

President Ruto’s comments also highlighted the importance of African unity in the face of external pressures. By asserting their right to be treated as equal partners, African leaders are sending a message that they will not be pushed around or dictated to by more powerful nations.

President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

“Let me give you a case to in point,” Ruto told Mo Ibrahim during their conversation. “We decided, for example, that we are going to assemble our market using the Africa Continental Free Trade Area market, that’s good ecosystem. And the positive thing is that it was unbelievable at the rate at which we were able to achieve consensus and we were able to achieve ratification. And I want to tell you, it is among the things that happened in the shortest time possible. It tells you there is greater realization that unless we act in concert, unless we act together, we are unlikely to make any impact anywhere. We have at least on the market issue, we have put that together.

“There is a debate that is going to evolve. Like for example, we have also decided that it will not going to be business as usual. We have these meetings Africa-US Meeting, Africa-Europe, Africa -Turkey, Africa-India, Africa-Russia, and Africa-Japan.

“We have made the decision that it is not intelligent for 54 of us to go and sit before one gentleman from another place. And sometimes we are mistreated. We are loaded into buses like school kids. It’s not right. It’s not right. So the decision that we have made as AU is that going forward, if there is going to be a discussion between Africa and any other country, we are going to be represented by the chair (of the African Union Commission).”

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Kenyan President William Ruto on the margins of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with Kenyan President William Ruto on the margins of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department photo by Ron Przysucha

This new assertiveness could help to shift the balance of power in international relations, giving African nations a stronger voice and promoting greater respect for their sovereignty and independence.

President Ruto also addressed the challenges facing the continent, including the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, violent extremist non-state actor activities, and the potential for foreign terrorist fighters to infiltrate the area. He stressed the importance of African leaders acting together to make an impact and the need for the African Union to take charge of the continent’s affairs and consolidate efforts in engaging with the rest of the world.

President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken participate in the U.S.-Africa Summit Leaders Session on partnering on the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in Washington, D.C., on December 15, 2022. [State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha

President Ruto also called on civil society to support the interests of the people of the continent and help promote the agenda of African unity. He emphasized the need to mobilize the people to share the vision and agree on the paradigm shift needed to address the challenges facing Africa.

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Audrey Dennis
Audrey Dennis
1 year ago

Simon,

Excellent report!

ZaSu
ZaSu
1 year ago

Let’s just say the quiet part outloud;
Joe Biden is suffering from dementia. He is incapable of the type of meeting those leaders deserved to have with him.
It’s sad but one can also deem it to be Elder Abuse to keep the obviously addled man in Office as well.

Kouwonou Foli
Kouwonou Foli
1 year ago

I think this is welcome development but it’s risky for ruto to come out publicly African leaders should take their decisions indoors and act intelligently the West is dangerous.