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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta visits the White House in 2014. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden will announce Thursday during a visit by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to the White House that the U.S. will donate an additional 17 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the African Union.

Why it matters: Biden is belatedly seeking to bolster U.S. engagement with the region, which has been a low priority as the administration goes all in on countering China in the Indo-Pacific. But Biden's choice for the first African leader to visit his White House has raised some eyebrows.

Driving the news: Kenyatta, who has pledged to crack down on corruption in Kenya, is under scrutiny after his family was named in the Pandora Papers for owning at least 11 offshore companies with more than $30 million in assets.

  • The controversy put the White House in a bind. In a pre-visit press briefing, a senior official was pressed as to why Biden would give such a prominent platform to someone facing corruption allegations.
  • The official replied that "Kenyatta is very much an elder statesman in the region" whose voice carries weight, "including hopefully with [Ethiopian] Prime Minister Abiy."
  • Between the lines: The White House is hoping Kenya — a key U.S. security partner and the fifth-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid — will press Abiy's government to show restraint in the current civil war.

Go deeper

Biden to meet with Pope Francis to discuss COVID and climate change

President Biden and Pope Francis meeting in 2016. Photo: Giuseppe Ciccia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Biden will meet with Pope Francis in Vatican City later this month, the White House said Thursday.

Why it matters: At the Oct. 29 meeting, the pair will discuss "ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor," according to the White House.

32 mins ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne's spent longer under lockdowns than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" when the gang abducted them in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

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