, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 11 – The World Bank Group has funded government projects and invested in the country more than Sh1 trillion since independence, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday.
He said the bank funded public sector projects to the tune of US$8.5 billion (Sh734 billion) and invested another US$4.3 billion (Sh371 billion) to support 23 national and six regional projects to reduce the effects of climate change.
Another US$166 million (Sh14.3 billion) has been received to take care of economic risks, the President said.
“Indeed, the World Bank Group has supported Kenya’s economic growth with millions of dollars through many development projects in all sectors of the economy and across all the regions of the country,” he said.
President Kenyatta spoke when he opened the World Bank Group’s Delta Centre in Nairobi. The new regional office brings together all World Bank Group staff based in Nairobi previously working in six different locations in the Upper Hill area.
The President said the World Bank has supported the reform agenda to improve Kenya’s competitiveness and attract more investments.
He affirmed his government’s commitment to strengthening the partnerships with the World Bank Group and other stakeholders to reduce poverty and improve the standards of living.
President Kenyatta pointed out that the strong partnerships would provide a platform for dialogue and consultation on development policies.
“My government welcomes this new development which is certainly a landmark in Kenya’s real estate development and symbolises the confidence the World Bank Group attaches to our country,” added the president.
He added; “The major investments are in infrastructure including transport, water and sanitation, energy, airports and urban development. Other investments are in agribusiness, health, information and communications technology, trade and transport facilitation, social protection and climate resilience and adaptation programs.”
In addition to lending, President Kenyatta said the World Bank undertakes extensive research to update knowledge critical to economic policy formulation.
He added that the bank’s recent research on economic trends and emerging issues such as devolution informs debate on current and future economic issues.
President Kenyatta further said the government will be working closely with the World Bank in mining the newly discovered natural resources for the benefit of all Kenyans.
“The Kenya Economic Update, which is an important source of economic data, is published semi-annually. The latest of these updates, the ninth edition, was launched yesterday (Tuesday) by Deputy President William Ruto,” he said.
The President thanked the World Bank and other partners for the prompt responses to the fire that destroyed the international arrivals terminal at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in August.
He said the Delta Centre design enhances efficiency and transparency and is worthy emulation by Government offices.
World Bank African region vice president Makhtar Diop assured President Kenyatta that the institution will support universal free health care and devolution.
Diop also welcomed the reforms undertaken by the Government at the port of Mombasa saying they have enhanced efficiency and therefore reduced the cost of doing business in the country.