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Kenya needs Sh400b for development

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The government has disclosed that Kenya requires about Sh480 billion from development partners over the next three years to enable it achieve its growth objectives.

Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said on Monday that the assistance from the donors, which is estimated to be about six percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), aims to complement the country’s resources.

“We need to invest heavily in infrastructure and social programmes that will reduce poverty and regional imbalances in development. Our domestic resources will not be adequate to cover the total investment we require to achieve our objectives,” he said.

Currently, all sectors of the economy are reeling from the adverse effects of the post election violence, drought and high food prices which have taken their toll on the economic growth.

This saw the economy decelerate sharply to two percent in 2008 and the government has had to revise the growth targets downwards from 4.5 percent to three percent for 2009.

Despite the challenges such as famine and adverse effects of the global economic meltdown that the country is currently grappling with, Mr Kenyatta pointed out that the government intends to push ahead with the development agenda as outlined in Vision 2030.

“We are convinced that with the pursuit of good macroeconomic policies and structural reforms, and with the assumption that there will be no new major challenges in the external environment, we should by 2012 be able to reach our growth rate target of 10 percent as set out in our five year Medium Term Plan,” he said.

The blueprint’s goals also include raising the investment and national savings as a proportion of GDP from the current 20 percent to around 32 percent and from 16 percent to 26 percent respectively by 2012/2013.

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Mr Kenyatta spoke when he opened the third round table conference with Arab Development Partners to discuss areas of cooperation between the two parties over the next three years.

Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua expressed confidence that the Arab partners would significantly contribute to the country’s requirements.

He said the arrangement for the provision of the funds required would most likely be debt-financing as the Arabs offer favourable support and rates with little conditionalities.

“We believe they have the resources and they could be helpful in supporting the constructions of roads, irrigation programmes and water facilities,” he enthused.

The PS was hopeful that the cooperation with the organisations that are drawn from both the private and public sectors would help promote disease-free zones in the livestock sub-sector particularly in North Eastern Province, which would mean meat exports to the Middle East.

Asked why the government was continuously looking to Middle Eastern countries for cooperation despite the jitters that such relationships have on the Western world particularly in the US, Mr Kinyua said Kenya will partner with any credible country or institutions from all over the world in its bid to develop itself.

“The only thing that we won’t do is get involved with questionable institutions which are not for the promotion of international peace,” he added.

Last month, Kenya hosted both the Iranian and Turkish Heads of State in two weeks, a move that raised eyebrows in the developed world.

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