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Kenya tells WB to unlock funding

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25 – The World Bank has been urged to release some Sh89.4 billion ($1.2billion) committed to Kenya which was withheld due to governance issues in the country.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the country was undertaking various reform measures to address such concerns.

“We have elaborate reform programs in the Judiciary and the police force. We have agreed with the bank that we will do our best on our part and they will also do the best on their side to ensure that these funds are disbursed as quickly as possible,” he said after meeting visiting World Bank Vice President for Africa Obiageli Ezekwesili.

The delay in the disbursement had slowed down the pace of projects sponsored by the bank which has in effect negatively impacted the country’s development targets.

At the same time, he appealed to the bank to review the country’s loan policy which would see allocation to Kenya increase commensurate to that of the region.

The Premier also asked the Bretton Woods institution to increase lending to the country and work out modalities to incorporate the private sector in the loaning scheme so as to promote economic growth in the developing world.

He pledged that the government would further collaborate with the bank and the private sector in order to strengthen Kenya’s competitiveness, and added that the collaboration would see the two parties co-host a new development partnership forum later this month.

“The first forum will be held on November 30 and it will also be held semi-annually thereafter,” he added.
During the meeting, the Premier disclosed that the bank had expressed its willingness to assist in the exploitation of geothermal energy and environmental conservation.

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“We have laid a lot of emphasis on geothermal which we have roughly about 7,000 Megawatts lying out there. The Bank is ready to support us to tap this potential,” he added.

He reiterated that during upcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen, Kenya will seek funds to enable it implement measures that would reduce the effects of climate change.

“We are determined to turn Kenya green by 2020. We will particularly lay a lot of emphasis on adaptation funding which will enable us to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he added.

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