Africa struggling to access adequate Covid-19 vaccines, Uhuru tells Biden

Uhuru welcomes the additional donation of 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine by the US government to the African Union

In Summary
  • President  Uhuru expresses  concern that Africa is  lagging behind the rest of the world in Covid-19 vaccination. 
  • Besides Covid-19, President Uhuru and President Joe Biden also discussed the global fight against terrorism, climate change as well as trade and investment.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has thanked the American Government for the continued assistance to Kenya and the African continent in the fight against Covid-19.

Uhuru also welcomed the additional donation of 17 million doses by the US government to the African Union noting the continent was struggling to access adequate vaccines.

"Let me also take this opportunity, through you, to thank your government and the people of the United States. During this very difficult time, the United States has done its best to step up in terms of not only helping Kenya, but the African continent in general, with regard to access to vaccines.

"I’m happy to hear your new announcement of that increase, because as many of you will know, as a continent, we are lagging well behind the rest of the world in terms of being able to vaccinate our people.

"So, any additional support, like the President (Joe Biden) has just mentioned, is greatly welcomed, and we look forward to that continued partnership," President Kenyatta said.

He spoke on Thursday in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington DC where he was hosted by President Biden.

Besides Covid-19, the leaders also discussed the global fight against terrorism, climate change as well as trade and investment among other subjects of mutual interest to Kenya and the US.

On the war against terrorism, President Kenyatta applauded the US for being a strong partner for Kenya.

"We’re also very closely partnering, especially in regard to the fight against terrorism globally. The United States has been a very strong partner to Kenya in that particular fight," he said.

The Kenyan leader said his country had made tremendous progress in climate change adaptation and mitigation, and welcomed the US back to the Paris Agreement.

"We are also keenly very grateful with his strong position, especially with regard to climate change. This is an area where Kenya has made tremendous progress in her own right and where we are firmly committed to the Paris Agreement, and we’re glad to see the United States has now rejoined," President Kenyatta said.

He said Kenya was keen on deepening its trade and investment relations with the US by investing in partnerships that promote American business interests while advancing the country's socioeconomic transformation agenda.

"Keenly also wanting to engage, as we have been already, with the President on the issue of trade and investment between our two countries. This, I believe, is vital not only in terms of further entrenching American interests on the continent, but also in helping us also achieve our socio-economic agenda," President Kenyatta said. 

On his part, President Biden hailed Kenya's steadfastness in safeguarding regional stability and advancing democracy saying the Kenya-US partnership was key in addressing global peace and security challenges.

"And, you know, the US-Kenya strategic partnership is essential—we both, I think, believe is essential to addressing key regional and global challenges.

"And I want to thank Kenya for your—thank you for your leadership in defending the peace, security, and democratic instincts of the region and your country. You’re doing a heck of a job," President Biden said.

The White House meeting was a culmination of President Kenyatta's successful official visit of the US during which he chaired his first United Nations Security Council meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York.

President Kenyatta was accompanied to the White House by Cabinet Secretaries Raychelle Omamo (Foreign Affairs) and Betty Maina (Trade) as well as Trade PS Johnson Weru and Kenya's Ambassador to Washington Lazarus Amayo.