Kenya seeks access to new IMF long-term funding

Signage of IMF at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters in Washington, DC. FILE PHOTO | AFP

Kenya has applied for access to a new long-term funding facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the multilateral lender has disclosed.

The facility known as the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) seeks to assist low-income and vulnerable middle-income countries to build resilience to external shocks.

The programme complements IMF’s existing lending facility and provides longer-term affordable financing to address challenges such as climate change and pandemic preparedness.

Rwanda became the first country in the region to benefit from the new facility while Seychelles recently obtained a staff-level agreement to access the long-term cheap financing facility.

“Kenya made a request (for access to RST) and we will have a mission in May (to consider the request),” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said last week during a tour of the country, without disclosing the amount Kenya is hoping to get under the programme.

Kenya’s access to the long-term facility is expected to unlock more billions in funding from the lender extending support beyond the existing 38-month programme.

IMF’s staff visit expected later this month is also set to underpin the fifth review of IMF’s extended credit facility arrangement which runs to June 2024.

In December, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the fourth review and disbursed Sh61 billion ($447.39 million) including Sh29.4 billion ($215.81 million) from the augmentation of the extended credit facility arrangement.

The December disbursement brought cumulative funding from the programme to Sh225.9 billion ($1.656 billion).

The Sh327.4 billion ($2.4 billion), 38-month programme which is underpinned by structural reforms was approved on April 2, 2021, with the aim of addressing debt vulnerabilities, the Covid-19 pandemic and global shocks.

The IMF says its support for sub-Sahara has grown more than 10-fold since Covid-19 to more than $50 billion (Sh6.8 trillion).

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