Kenya’s new president Ruto signals ‘Look West’ foreign policy

By Eliud Kibii
Posted on Friday, 11 November 2022 12:33

Kenya's President William Ruto in Nairobi, Kenya, 30 June 2022. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

Kenya’s President William Ruto has intensified engagements with the US, signalling a shift from the East to the West.

So far, Ruto, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and the country’s foreign affairs minister, Alfred Mutua, have met top-level US officials more than 15 times.

However, there has been limited contact with the Chinese, who were in the last two administrations of President Mwai Kibaki [2002-2013] and President Uhuru Kenyatta [2013-2022], seen as bilateral favourites.

The ‘Look East’ policy was credited with huge infrastructure projects, such as the Thika Superhighway, the Standard Gauge Railway and the 27km Nairobi Expressway, among others, funded or/and built by the Chinese.

Since his 12 September meeting with the Chinese delegation that attended his inauguration, Ruto has only met with China Ambassador Zhou Pingjian once, on October 18.