The World Bank has granted Kenya a $750 million (Sh75 billion) loan, giving President Uhuru’s Big Four agenda a big boost.
The lender on Wednesday said the loan will support critical reforms that will enhance competition and market transparency, reduce corruption opportunities in agriculture, and help Kenyan farmers to achieve higher productivity.
“Reforms supported by the facility include better targeting of subsidies for agricultural inputs to reach the intended beneficiaries (using e-vouchers and biometric digital identification); reducing inefficiencies and leakages in the procurement and marketing of fertiliser; and establishing a warehouse receipt system and a commodities exchange to help farmers get easier access to credit and to reduce post-harvest losses,” the World Bank said.
Additionally, the loan will support the advancement of digitisation through the creation of the national digital ID and pushing for access to Internet services to all Kenyans.
“The facility will enhance service delivery by the government to its citizens and reduce the need for face-to-face interactions and corruption opportunities.”
In its approval notice, the World Bank said, “measures supported by this operation are expected to benefit ordinary Kenyans through better targeting of agricultural subsidies to reach low-income farmers, prosecuting those who engage in fraudulent procurement, increasing availability of affordable housing, and improving revenue mobilisation.”
The Treasury had written to the lender in March seeking an urgent loan for budget support.
The loan marks the first time in years the World Bank is channeling cash straight into the Treasury to be used at the discretion of the government as opposed to channelling funds straight into projects.
Kenya’s public debt crossed the Sh5.1 trillion mark in September 2018 and the latest borrowing is likely to push it beyond Sh5.5 trillion by close of the year.