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World Bank pledges continued support for reforms

NAIROBI, KENYA, Jul 7 – The World Bank has commended Kenya for its ongoing devolution of government and promised to financially support the country so that it succeeds in making the necessary reforms by strengthening their partnership, especially in the implementation of the new constitution.

President Mwai Kibaki, Saturday met and held talks with the visiting Word Bank Vice President for Africa Region Makhtar Diop who paid him a courtesy call at State House Nairobi.

During the talks, President Kibaki and Diop exchanged views on the status of the partnership between the World Bank and Kenya

Acknowledging that Kenya has a long standing relationship with the World Bank, the President briefed Diop on various interventions the country had put in place so as to improve the living standards of her citizens.

Kibaki: “The government is mainly concentrating on three fundamental social sectors of education, health and infrastructure development.”

He underscored that with the enactment of the new Constitution, “Kenya is poised to become a prosperous and democratic nation whose resources are equitably distributed especially under the devolved structures of governance.”

He applauded the cordial relationship between the World Bank and Kenya noting that to date the country’s projects portfolio supported by the Bank is estimated to be about $3.3 billion.

“The funds covered projects in key sectors of the economy including roads, water storage facilities and sanitation works, Energy, power generation, Agriculture, Education, Health and Community programmes as well as social protection,” underscored President Kibaki.

On his part, Diop affirmed his personal commitment to strengthen the cooperation between the World Bank and Kenya especially in the implementation of the new Constitution.

Diop: “I commended Kenya for leading the way in consolidating democratic ideals with the enactment of the new Constitution that created the devolved County governments.”

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“To make sure that those institutions created are really functional and independent because we think it’s an important contribution that will ensure better conditions for better governance,” he added.

Terming the devolved structures of governance wonderful and of their own kind in Africa, the World Bank’s Vice-President for the Africa Region assured Kenya of the support she required to succeed in underpinning necessary reforms and the future of the country and its people.

“We still believe that in the distribution of investment and consumption from the public side, more can be done in adding more investment and less public consumption,” he said.

“The challenge is to shift the composition of public expenditure and tilt it a little bit more towards investment and less towards public consumption to create the conditions for sustained growth,” he explained.

Negotiations between Kenya and World Bank are at advanced stages for the funding and construction of a decker road from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Westlands at an estimated cost of Sh25 billion.

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