Kenya fails to get debt relief by IMF even as coronavirus shakes economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta signing the Computer and Cybercrime Bill on May 16, 2018 [PSCU]

Kenya has missed out in the much-awaited debt relief list by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Kenya has been lobbying the G20 – 20 richest countries on earth – to waive this year’s interest payments on its loan in an appeal that targeted low-income economies from Africa amid COVID-19 outbreak.

However, Kenya has missed out on this as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and 17 other nations successfully go this reprieve.

“Today, I am pleased to say that our Executive Board approved immediate debt service relief to 25 of the IMF’s member countries under the IMF’s revamped Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) as part of the Fund’s response to help address the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva in a statement on Monday.

 “This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts,” the IMF boss stated.

Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, DRC, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Benin are among the African countries who IMF covered their debt obligation.

Others are Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Kenya’s foreign debt is at a staggering Ksh5.89 trillion, most of it owed to China who have funded mega infrastructural projects in the country.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was part of African presidents who had called for waiver of interest payment on its debt owing to the hard economic time occasioned by coronavirus.

“As part of efforts to mitigate against the adverse effects of the global coronavirus pandemic, African governments will unite in pushing for loan waivers,” State House stated after a virtual meeting with other presidents.