Brazzaville, Congo – President William Ruto has joined global leaders in Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, for the groundbreaking Three Basins Climate Change Conference. The summit, the first of its kind, brings together the world’s three major tropical forest basins: the Amazon, Congo, and Borneo-Mekong, aiming to restore 350 million hectares of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
The unique initiative aims to create a robust international coalition. Collinet Makosso, the Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo, emphasized the importance of the summit, stating that it would “formalize genuine south-south cooperation in support of biodiversity and the climate.”
This international endeavor marks President Ruto’s 39th overseas trip since he assumed office just over a year ago. Earlier this week, he participated in the 7th edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit in Saudi Arabia. These frequent travels have not gone unnoticed, prompting President Ruto to make a significant announcement that links his travel budget to a noble cause closer to home.
In a recent speech during the unveiling of motor vehicles for education officers in Kasarani, Nairobi, President Ruto pledged to reduce his travel budget by Sh500 million. The purpose of this generous cut is to fund the construction of a manufacturing plant dedicated to producing assistive devices for learners with disabilities. “I will knock off a few things in my budget, including my travel allowances, to find Sh500 million for the creation of a facility that will produce local devices to aid learners with special needs,” Ruto declared.
This initiative underscores the President’s commitment to education and inclusivity. The funds from the trimmed travel budget, combined with contributions from the Ministry of Education and both National and County Governments, are envisioned to make the assistive device factory a reality.
However, in a subsequent address in Taita Taveta on Friday, the President corrected media reports on the exact amount he has cut from the executive’s travel budget. “I saw media reports saying I reduced the budget by Sh500 million. In reality, I have reduced it by Sh11 billion,” President Ruto clarified.
President Ruto expressed concern over some international trips, deeming them as not directly beneficial to Kenyan citizens. He, however, emphasized that trips with clear economic benefits to Kenyans would continue to receive funding. “We will finance those trips that directly bring money into the pockets of Kenyans,” the President said, highlighting his administration’s commitment to ensuring that state funds are directed towards initiatives that make a tangible difference in the lives of Kenyans.
This decision to significantly cut the travel budget resonates with President Ruto’s dedication to fiscal responsibility and the prioritization of domestic initiatives that directly benefit the Kenyan populace. With the country’s focus on both global environmental endeavors and local inclusive educational projects, President Ruto’s recent actions reinforce his administration’s multifaceted approach to national and international leadership.