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IMF to do ‘whatever possible’ to support Kenya; Africa director

Kenya discussing with the IMF “augmentation” of its loan programme, potentially by asking the Fund for “exceptional access”.

The International Monetary Fund will do “whatever possible” to support Kenya, its African Department Director Abebe Selassie said on Friday, as Fund staff were due to visit the country next week.

This comes as the Kenya’s central bank governor, Kamau Thugge revealed that Kenya was discussing with the IMF “augmentation” of its loan programme, potentially by asking the Fund for “exceptional access”. 

Kamau Thugge also said Kenya was planning to buy back up to a quarter of its $2 billion 2024 international bond after it secures new loans.

If it were granted “exceptional access” Kenya could ask for more than its limit of IMF funding.

“We’re very encouraged that the (Kenyan) government is very proactively working … (on) a number of options to address the maturities that they have falling due next year,” Selassie told a news conference in Marrakech at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings.

“For countries that continue to implement policies as envisaged, that are moving policies in the right direction, we do what we can to provide them with the financing they need.”

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Meanwhile, Kenya has started talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development financial institutions for a new loan to help it settle the $2.0 billion (Ksh297.6 billion) Eurobond whose repayment is due in June 2024.

The government is leaning to the multilateral institutions following tightness in the global markets which has rendered the issuance of fresh debt to refinance maturing debt an improbable route to settle the maturity which is eight months away.

IMF’s Deputy Director for Africa Catherine Pattillo told the Business Daily that the request for additional financing and the amount Kenya is seeking will be a key item during the upcoming review mission expected in December.

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