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Kenya ‘Out Of Debt Distress’ – President Ruto

India’s President Droupadi Murmu (R) walks along with her Kenyan counterpart William Ruto (C) and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Ruto’s ceremonial reception at presidential palace Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on December 5, 2023. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)

On the 60th anniversary of Kenya’s independence, President William Ruto declared the country was “out of debt distress,” praising his economic measures despite widespread outrage over tax increases and reduced subsidies.

East Africa’s economic powerhouse has been grappling with a slew of issues, including exhausted government finances, high inflation, and a falling currency, which has pushed debt repayment expenses skyrocketing.

According to Treasury estimates, Kenya had accrued more than 10.1 trillion shillings ($66 billion) in debt by the end of June, equivalent to over two-thirds of GDP.

Ruto stated during a public ceremony in Nairobi to commemorate the former British colony’s independence day that Kenya was now “safely out of the danger zone of debt distress.”

He did not disclose any data on current debt levels, but said Kenya’s GDP had expanded by 5.4 percent in the previous six months.

“We have made the right choices, sometimes taken very difficult and painful decisions, to steer Kenya back from the edge of a catastrophic cliff of debt distress and move our country in a new direction,” he said.

Ruto, who was elected last year on a promise to improve the lives of ordinary Kenyans, has been on a mission to reduce the country’s public debt and “wasteful” government spending.

He has also reduced food and fuel subsidies instituted by his predecessor, former President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The cost of servicing national debt, primarily to China, has risen as the Kenyan shilling has fallen to record lows of 153 shillings to the US dollar.

In addition, the government has a $2 billion eurobond repayment due in June of next year.

The celebrations for Kenya’s independence day, which featured a military parade as well as musical and dance performances, were held at Uhuru Gardens, a site steeped in Kenyan history.

At midnight on December 12, 1963, independence was declared on the site of a camp where British colonial authorities had held suspected Mau Mau rebels during the suppression of their 1952-1960 insurgency.

At least 10,000 people were slain, and tens of thousands more were imprisoned without trial in camps where murders, torture, and brutal beatings were frequent.

Written by PH

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