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Ruto in Riyadh ahead of Saudi-African summit

President William Ruto is in Saudi Arabia for a series of engagements, including attending the Saudi-African summit.

The Head of State left the country for the Gulf nation moments after his State of the Nation address.

He was received in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, by the Deputy Governor of Riyadh, His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

President Ruto will grace the inaugural Saudi-African Summit at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Centre.

His visit to Saudi Arabia came barely a month after he made another official visit where he attended the 7th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Summit.

The President’s visit comes against the backdrop of complaints among Kenyans regarding the number of foreign trips that he has made since he took over the leadership last year.

In response, the President promised to reduce the budget for foreign trips, which now stands at 40.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua has however backed the President’s foreign trips insisting the President is using them to vouch for investments and business opportunities.

During his previous visit, President Ruto said the Saudi authorities and Kenya had discussed job opportunities for hundreds of Kenyans.

He recently said he had secured the jobs for Kenyans in his move to strengthen bilateral trade between Kenya and Middle Eastern countries.

“During my trip to Saudi Arabia last week, they need 350,000 workers and say Kenyan workers are better than the others because they’re hardworking…we will soon sign a bilateral labour agreement with them in another three weeks,” President Ruto said in his recent church service in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.

Saudi Arabia has been among the leading destinations for Kenyans seeking job opportunities abroad.

Equally, more cases of abuse of workers in Saudi have been reported and several workers had to be rescued and returned home, a move that the Kenya Kwanza government is aiming to bring to an end.

According to former Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Cabinet Secretary Dr Alfred Mutua, who is now in charge of Tourism, the plight of Kenyan workers in the Gulf State was largely attributed to rogue agencies that ended up leaving Kenyans stranded abroad.

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