Kenya gets additional $938m from IMF, soothing nerves

16 November 2023 - 11:45 By Duncan Miriri and George Obulutsa
subscribe Support independent journalism. Subscribe to our digital news package for R80 p/m.
Subscribe now
Subject to the approval of the Washington-based fund's executive board, Kenya will have access to a total of $3.88bn (R70.68bn), which would bring its total funding under the existing arrangements to $4.43bn (R80.70bn), the IMF said. File photo.
Subject to the approval of the Washington-based fund's executive board, Kenya will have access to a total of $3.88bn (R70.68bn), which would bring its total funding under the existing arrangements to $4.43bn (R80.70bn), the IMF said. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reached a staff-level agreement with Kenya, unlocking immediate access to a $682.3m (R12.43bn) tranche and boosting the current lending programme by $938m (R17.01bn), the fund said on Thursday.

The East African nation is grappling with acute liquidity challenges caused by uncertainty over its ability to access funding from financial markets before a $2bn (R36.43bn) Eurobond matures next June.

Its balance of payments and financial positions have also been strained by the legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic and frequent climate change-induced droughts, the fund said at the conclusion of a two-and-a-half week review mission to Nairobi.

“The tightening global financing conditions for frontier economies and global geopolitical tensions are compounding the challenges,” said Haimanot Teferra, the head of the mission.

Subject to the approval of the Washington-based fund's executive board, Kenya will have access to a total of $3.88bn (R70.68bn), which would bring its total funding under the existing Extended Fund Facility and Extended Credit Facility arrangements to $4.43bn (R80.70bn), the IMF said.

The current programme, agreed in April 2021, was first bumped up in May by an extra $1bn (R18.22bn), including $544m (R9.91bn) under the IMF's Resilience and Sustainability Facility (RSF), and a new arrangement under the same RSF.

Kenya's international bonds showed little immediate reaction to the news.

At 7.10am GMT, some had slipped less than 0.1 cents on the dollar in price, while others had increased slightly in price, according to Tradeweb data.

Although the deal was widely expected after it was telegraphed by a senior adviser in Kenya's presidency, it was still being viewed positively, said a Kenyan market participant who did not wish to be named.

The new IMF financing, together with expected funds from the World Bank and regional banks like Afrexim, would allow Kenya to pay maturing foreign debt without running down its hard currency reserves, said the market participant.

“Kenya will sort of become a bit more creditworthy,” said the market player.

Reuters


subscribe Support independent journalism. Subscribe to our digital news package for R80 p/m.
Subscribe now

Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.