A full bin awaits the arrival of US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman
The new US Ambassador to Kenya, Margaret (Meg) Whitman, arrived in Nairobi over the weekend, where a full bin awaited her, including the upcoming general elections next week.
Ms Whitman was endorsed by the US Senate two weeks ago, more than seven months after President Joe Biden appointed her to head the US mission in Nairobi.
A Twitter post from the US Embassy in Nairobi showed Ms Whitman being welcomed into her new post by Chargé d’Affaires Eric Kneedler. Mr. Kneedler has served as acting ambassador since last year in January following the departure of Kyle MacCarter.
Welcome Kenyan Ambassador Whitman! 🇺🇸🇰🇪 pic.twitter.com/uPUxrSERPX
— US Embassy Nairobi (@USEmbassyKenya) August 1, 2022
Whitman, a former chief technology officer and one of the wealthiest Americans to become President Joe Biden’s envoy to Nairobi, will wait for an official presentation of his credentials before starting work.
But sources said East Africa she could present them as early as Wednesday. She comes to Nairobi at a time when Kenya is preparing for elections.
His country is one of the largest external contributors to “democracy and good governance” programs which have included support for the Independent Electoral Commission and borders, as well as the judiciary.
As tradition dictates, the United States is expected to join other Western allies in observing the elections in Kenya. But Ms Whitman also arrives amid complaints about visa delays at the Nairobi embassy. Some student visa applicants have had to wait up to six months for appointments.
Ms Whitman is a former CEO and chairman of Hewlett Packard (HP), and her arrival in Nairobi could also signal a shift in US politics towards business-oriented ties.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Kenya’s Commerce Cabinet Secretary launched a new U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP), listing eight priority areas to be included in future trade negotiations.
They include agriculture, digital trade, environment and climate change action, good regulatory practices, support for micro, small and medium enterprises, labor rights, women’s and gender rights, quality standards and trade facilitation.
“The U.S. and Kenyan governments will begin work within three months to develop a detailed roadmap for engagement in each of these areas,” Tai said in a statement.
Unlike Trump, who wanted to broker a bilateral trade deal, Biden’s trade envoy said the new “roadmap” would support “African regional economic integration.”
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Ms Whitman, born in August 1956, will be the first female US ambassador to Kenya in more than two decades, since Prudence Bushnell in 1999.