Kenya’s President William Ruto‘s government has inherited a KSh 8.6 trillion debt from the Jubilee administration.
Over the last decade, retired president Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee government broke through the proposed ceiling to fund infrastructure projects across the country.
As such, international lenders including the World Bank have warned of a high risk of debt default, at a time the county says it’s broke and that it is living beyond its means.
For instance, the national Treasury estimates the present value of Kenya’s public debt as a proportion of GDP for 2022 at 64.2 percent. This figure is higher than the proposed ceiling of 55 percent.
Speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, September 21, the newly sworn-in Head of State asked international lenders to extend debt relief to poor countries including Kenya.
The first in command said Kenya and other poor countries were the hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and hence were burdened by heavy debt servicing.
This, President Ruto, said will see some of the countries risk losing their development agenda due to the shocks inflicted by COVID-19.
“This 77th session of the UN General Assembly comes at a unique moment when the entire world is struggling with multiple grave challenges that include conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic, the triple planetary crises, food insecurity, and rising cost of living,
“On behalf of Kenya, I join other leaders in calling the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and other multilateral lenders to extend pandemic-related debt relief to the worst-hit countries, especially those affected by conflict, climate change, and COVID-19,” Ruto said.
While advancing his hustler narrative, the president further said he fully supported the ‘Building back Better’ initiative “which is the universal rallying call to incorporate lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in a better way to recover from its shock.”