, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – The Eurobond bond saga has taken centre stage in the media for the past few weeks now.
The big question has been; where is the Eurobond money? How was it spent?
Amidst the banter, Capital FM hit the streets of Nairobi to find out whether people understand what the Eurobond is in the first place.
The results were appalling.
“Eurobond is a loan the World Bank gave to the Kenyan government so that infrastructure projects could be completed. The Kenyan government received it and it is supposed to repay it in time period of up to five years,” said Kevin Kamau, a resident of Nairobi.
Another Nairobi resident admitted, straight up, that he had only heard it from the media- “I have heard about the Eurobond saga on television and radio. I however have no idea what it means,” said Abdullah Hassan.
There were some who said that they knew that the Eurobond was a loan but did not know where it came from. “I think Eurobond is a loan the government acquired to fund various projects including clearing some of its debts. I think Ireland gave the government the money as I have heard the Irish Stock Exchange mentioned.”
Some Nairobi residents showed little interest on what the Eurobond is, saying that whatever their favoured opinion leaders thought it was, then that is what they believed.
“To be honest, I do not know what Eurobond is and I do not care. But the fact that Raila (former Prime Minister and Opposition leader) has said that it is money that was misused by the government, then that is what I believe,” Ken Akaliche said.
On further grilling him why he was not interested in forming his own opinion, but opted to pick up that of someone else, Akaliche said that as a supporter of ODM, whatever the party said was true regardless of any other outcome.
There were however a couple of Nairobi residents who had a vague idea what it is, such as Jane Muthoni. According to her, it means that the bond is not issued in Kenyan shillings but a foreign currency, hence the name.
Other respondents got closer to the answer such as Michael Ogutu who explained that through the Eurobond, the government was essentially asking investors to lend it US$2 billion on the promise that it will pay it back with interest in five to 10 years.
So what is Eurobond?
Before answering this question, let’s delve into what a bond is in the first place.
According to the Commercial Bank of Africa, a bond is a debt instrument whereby an entity such as the government or a corporation uses to raise money from the public or the private sector.