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Flying president: Inside President Ruto’s 62 visits to 38 countries in 20 months

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President William Ruto, First Lady Rachel Ruto are received by US First Lady Jill Biden at the Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, Washington, D.C , in the United States of America. This is the second phase of the U.S. State Visit after Atlanta where the President pitched camp for two days marketing Kenya as a top investment destination in Africa.

Photo credit: PCS

His foreign travels have been a subject of numerous debates, but President William Ruto has defended his travels fiercely and is seemingly not letting the noise get to him if his recent trips are anything to go by.

This week, he is expected to travel for the G7 Summit in Italy, days after arriving from a four-day visit to South Korea, and a week after a historic State visit in the United States.

This year alone, he has made 18 international trips with his recent visit being to South Korea after he had just concluded a historic state visit to the United States that elicited much debate.

 President William Ruto and First Lady Rachel Ruto arrive at Icheon International Airport in Icheon, South Korea on June 3, 2024. 

Photo credit: PCS

The Head of State has been on the spot since last year due to his frequent foreign trips which have now totalled to 62 in 38 different countries in the 22 months he has been in office.

In 2022, he made a total of 9 international trips with his maiden visit as Kenyan President being to the United Kingdom for the State burial of Queen Elizabeth II just five days after his inauguration.

He proceeded to the US for the United Nations General Assembly meeting immediately after where he made his maiden speech to other leaders in New York.

He made his first official visit to Tanzania in October 2022 and proceeded to Uganda for the country’s 60 anniversary celebrations. In the same month, he attended the launch of Safaricom in Ethiopia.

He made an official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo in November and in December 2022, he visited his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki and was back in the US for the US-Africa summit on December 13.

In 2023 where the president made a total of 35 trips, there was increased scrutiny on his travels but he insisted that all his travels were in the best interests of the country.

“As the chief agent and chief ambassador of our country, these foreign trips that people are making noise about are crucial because we can look for opportunities for Kenyans. We are a great nation and going places. We shall do the right thing and Kenya shall prosper,” he said during a church service in October last year.

Some of the countries he visited last year include China for the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, Saudi Arabia for the Saudi-Africa Summit and India for an official visit.

He also visited several European countries such as France, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany attending various summits and conferences.

This year, he has made trips to Rwanda for the Africa CEO summit, attended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, had a state visit in Ghana and graced the inauguration of Félix Tshisekedi alongside former president Uhuru Kenyatta.

He has also been to Uganda, several western African countries such as Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic as well as to Namibia for the funeral of the late President Hage Geingob.

He has also travelled to Japan for a state visit as well as to Italy for the Italy-Africa summit.

The countries he has visited the most are Uganda and Tanzania which he has been five times each, Ethiopia and the US four times each, France three times and twice to the UK, DRC, Congo, South Korea, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Rwanda.