Nairobi News


Ruto seeks to prevent Africans working abroad despite numerous ‘foreign job’ trips

Since President William Ruto ascended into power in August 2022, he has been a frequent flier to numerous foreign nations. So frequent are his flights that it became a cause for concern for Kenyans and their critics.

In a span of two years, President Ruto has been away on over 50 foreign trips, despite earlier claims that the government would cut down spending to save money for government operations and that representatives would be sent where necessary.

His flying has seen him become a target for mockery over his inability to stay in his country and rule, with some foreigners even taking digs at Kenyans for having a leader ruling them ‘via Bluetooth from his airplane.’

In response, President Ruto defended his love for 50,000 feet, claiming the trips were purposed to seek jobs for Kenyans abroad.

“You have heard that I have toured many parts of the world and I have travelled with a plan. I am not a tourist. Because for this country to change, it has to be changed and that is done by thoughts and plans,” said President Ruto in December 2023.

In subsequent addresses, he claimed his trips would see more Kenyans leave the country to work abroad after he signed bilateral agreements but the same is yet to be witnessed, including the 23,000 Kenyan workers he claimed work for a Fortune 500 American company from the comfort of their homes. He also claimed to have gotten jobs for 350,000 Kenyans in Saudi Arabia and Germany.

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All this was in aim of the government increasing remittances from Kenyans working abroad. Remittances, money sent home by Kenyans, are among the biggest foreign exchange earners for the country. In 2023, Kenya ranked fifth among African countries with the highest diaspora remittances.

“Continue going anywhere in the world, anywhere you will find many benefits for Kenyans,” Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua egged him on.

Months later, in light of more foreign trips, in what appears to be an oxymoron, President Ruto is now seeking to have reforms put in place to prevent Africans from going abroad to seek work.

Speaking on Sunday, February 18, 2024, while in Ethiopia for the African Union’s Committee of the African Heads of State and Government meeting on Climate Change- which he Chaired, President Ruto proposed a policy that would stop young Africans from immigrating to other nations for jobs.

“We, today, are very proud that Africa is no longer the continent that was viewed just as a mere victim of climate change. Today, we are repositioning Africa as the continent that has the largest potential for renewable energy and we can use this potential, transform it into an opportunity and change it into an investment that will give not just an African green industrialisation trajectory, but it will also create opportunities for employment and industrialisation that will eventually create enough jobs and stop our young people from migrating using rickety instruments in dangerous voyages to the rest of the world,” said President Ruto in his address.

His change in stance on employment for Africans came after he was appointed the African Union’s champion for Institutional Reform.