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Ruto & AfDB President make lady's birthday unforgettable at 35,000ft in the air

Tolani Alli: Being celebrated by two presidents 35,000ft in the air. Blessed and humbled

President William Ruto, President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina and his photographer Tolani Alli
  • President William Ruto departed Kenya for Seoul, South Korea, to attend the Korea-Africa Summit
  • President Ruto was joined by the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, and Tolani Alli, who celebrated her birthday during the flight
  • The summit aims to bolster diplomatic and economic ties between Africa and South Korea, focusing on trade, investment, technology, and development initiatives

President William Ruto departed Kenya on Sunday evening, en route to Seoul, South Korea, to attend the Korea-Africa Summit.

The summit aims to bolster diplomatic and economic ties between Africa and South Korea.

President Ruto embarked on his journey with a stopover in Dubai, from where he caught a connecting flight to Seoul aboard a Fly Emirates plane.

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Joining him on this significant trip was the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina.

Adesina's official photographer, Tolani Alli, who was also on the flight, had a memorable experience as she celebrated her birthday during the journey.

She shared the joyous occasion on social media, posting photos and a heartfelt message about the unique experience of marking her special day with two influential leaders 35,000ft above sea level.

In her post, she expressed her gratitude, saying, “Celebrating another year of life today, I am humbled by the journey and the mercies that have carried me through. Which of His mercies can I deny? Every challenge faced has been a stepping stone, every blessing a reminder of His unfailing love.”

She continued by thanking her family, mentors, and supporters for pushing her, and always supporting her in everything she does.

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Reflecting on her unique birthday celebration, she added, “What better way to usher in this new season than being celebrated by two Presidents —President William Ruto and President of Africa’s Premier Bank Institution, Akinwumi Adesina —as we head to our destination. Here’s to a future filled with endless possibilities and unwavering hope!”

The Korea-Africa Summit is expected to focus on enhancing cooperation in various sectors, including trade, investment, technology, and development initiatives. President Ruto's participation underscores Kenya's commitment to strengthening international partnerships and exploring new avenues for growth and collaboration.

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Here are some interesting facts about Tolani Alli:

  1. Tolani Alli transitioned from a pre-med student to a photographer after receiving a camera from her parents for her birthday.
  2. Her photography journey began with documenting family and campus events, quickly gaining recognition for her quality and speed in sharing photos.
  3. She worked as the personal photographer for Nigeria's former Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
  4. A viral "Agbada Gang" photo earned her the job with Osinbajo.
  5. Her work includes documenting political campaigns and significant events.
  6. Tolani has also anchored a session for UNDP on the importance of powerful communication and photography.

Previous Experience:

  1. Apple: Software and Hardware Technician (Sep 2013 - Dec 2014)
  2. Genesee County, Michigan: Health Specialist (Jun 2013 - Sep 2013)
  3. University of Michigan-Flint: IT Technician (Oct 2009 - Feb 2012)
  4. Illusions Imagery: Senior Photographer (Jan 2008 - Aug 2011)
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According to a press release from State House Spokesperson Huessin Mohammed, the summit will cover critical areas of mutual interest such as trade promotion, industrialisation, infrastructure development, and job creation.

The discussions will also focus on enhancing agricultural productivity, addressing climate change, and transitioning to carbon-free energy.

These discussions are in line with President Ruto's roles as the African Union Champion for Institutional Reform and the Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change.

During his visit, President Ruto is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.

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They will review the progress of the Sh132 billion Framework Arrangement partnership, which was established during President Ruto's previous visit to South Korea in November 2022.

This partnership includes key projects in water and irrigation, agriculture, infrastructure, and the creative economy.

New agreements worth Sh40 billion are expected to be signed to create opportunities in Kenya's creative economy sector, and Sh25 billion for water and irrigation projects.

In addition to these discussions, several Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) will be signed to enhance partnerships in health, agriculture, and ICT.

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Kenya aims to explore technology opportunities with South Korea, including the development of its semiconductor industry.

Moreover, Kenya will join the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) to advance its vaccine manufacturing goals.

The visit will also address labor migration, with Kenya and South Korea expected to finalize a Labor Migration Program. This program could position Kenya as one of the few African countries approved for labor supply under the South Korea Employment Permit System (EPS) Program.

Furthermore, the trip will lay the groundwork for initiating negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Kenya and South Korea, which is anticipated to strengthen economic ties between the two countries.

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Hussein Mohamed, State House Spokesperson, emphasised the importance of this summit in reinforcing Kenya's international partnerships and expanding its global influence.

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