July 2015, the rest of the world realized what Kenyans already knew—Kenya is on the move. U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya shone the spotlight on his signature initiatives, including Power and Trade Africa and the Young African Leaders Initiative, as well as presidential priorities, such as wildlife conservation, gender equality and civil society.
For the U.S. Government agency at the vanguard of this work, this historical visit was particularly significant. First, the world got a glimpse into what USAID sees everyday—major achievements in development led by local people and organizations. Secondly, the citizens, civil society and faith leaders we work with to accelerate this progress earned the opportunity to engage with President Obama face-to-face on the issues important to them.
President Obama praised entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators we work with who are pioneering sustainable solutions and creative strategies for development. These included Jamila Abass, the innovator behind M-Farm, a mobile platform that connects farmers to markets; and Richard Todosia, president of the one-million strong National Youth Bunge Association supported by USAID.
The friendship between the Republic of Kenya and the United States dates to the dawn of Kenyan independence. As an important developing-country partner in East Africa, Kenya is a significant recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. Over the past 50 years, USAID has worked closely with the Kenyan government, the private sector, and civil society to:
- Advance access to education;
- Improve quality healthcare through nutrition, family planning, and maternal and child health, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and strengthening health programs;
- Lay a foundation for long-term economic growth through trade, agriculture, and infrastructure programs; and
- Make devolution work for the benefit of all Kenyans through democracy, governance and conflict programs.
“I am here to tell you that the United States of America will be a partner for you every step of the way,” President Obama said in his closing remarks at the Safaricom arena. This historic visit is another inflection point in the United States relationship with Kenya and the East African region.
Last updated: April 16, 2016