IMF approves $235.6m disbursement to Kenya

By 'Tofe Ayeni
Posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2022 14:10

International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy managing director Antoinette Sayeh REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

On Monday 18 July, the executive board of the IMF completed its third review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangements, approving a $235.6m disbursement to Kenya for budget support.

For Ms Antoinette Sayeh, the deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF, the Fund is helping the East African nation by “providing an essential policy anchor to debt sustainability and public confidence.”

However, the country’s own efforts with tax collection are helping, she says: “Strong fiscal performance is providing a welcome resilience. Although the authorities are adjusting domestic fuel prices to international levels more gradually, program targets are still being met thanks to strong tax revenues.”

Tax collections for the 2021-2 fiscal year, were strong, according to the IMF, creating the monetary space to cushion, at least temporarily, part of the higher fuel and food costs that have hit households.

A statement from the IMF explains: “The approved fiscal year 2022/23 budget broadens tax collection and maintains careful expenditure control while protecting social spending.”

IMF’s total disbursements to Kenya so far have reached $1.21bn. The total amount available to Kenya form the IMF is $2.34 billion available under a 38-month program approved in April 2021.

Where does Kenya’s economy stand post-Covid

According to the IMF: “Kenya’s economy has rebounded strongly in a challenging environment and is projected to grow 5.7% in 2022. Downside risks predominate in the near term. Uncertainties stem from the war in Ukraine, continuing drought in the semi-arid regions, unsettled global financial market conditions and the political calendar.”

Between 2015 and 2019, Kenya’s economic growth averaged 4.7% per year. The arrival of Covid-19 in 2020 disrupted this trajectory and the economy contracted by 0.3%.

However, in a post-Covid world, despite the various current obstacles, recovery continues. The IMF advises the National Treasury to sustain fiscal consolidation efforts through efficient spending and additional tax measures to reduce debt vulnerabilities and release funds needed for social and development spending.

Kenya is also trying to structurally reform, particularly focussing on improving governance. Despite delays, the following advancements are underway:

  • The oversight of state-owned enterprises is being reinforced with new tender documents that will make publishing beneficial ownership information of successful bidders for public procurements easier;
  • An ongoing audit of Covid-19 vaccine spending will improve transparency and allow for follow-up by stakeholders.

The economy is a key policy debate in the upcoming August 2022 election, with candidates making various promises such as stipends to poor families, access to cheaper credit, land reform, unorthodox exports, farm subsidies, and more.

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options