NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – Kenya will receive a €188 million – Sh21.9 billion – loan from African Development Bank to support its efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the related economic, health and social impacts.
In a statement, the financial institution says the loan follows a request by the Government of Kenya, as part of its COVID-19 Emergency Response intervention, to help contain the scourge.
The funds will go towards strengthening the national health system to effectively respond to the pandemic, build economic resilience, and ensure a quick recovery of the economy.
According to the bank, the loan will also be used to support the poor and vulnerable people who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
“We are very pleased to join other development partners in supporting the Government of Kenya’s efforts in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of the country’s expenditure in the health, social and economic sectors. The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post-COVID-19,” the Bank’s Acting Director-General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, noted.
The latest funding will now bring the number of loans given to the government in the last one week to at least three, worth about Sh133.3 billion.
On Thursday, the World Bank said in a statement that its Board of Directors had approved a US$43 Million – Sh4.59 billion – International Development Assistance credit to respond to the threat posed by the desert locust outbreak and to strengthen Kenya’s system for preparedness.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the institution approved a US$1 billion – Sh106.8 billion – loan to close Kenya’s fiscal financing gap generated by the severe, ongoing shock to the economy.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the loan is expected to address Kenya’s widening budget deficit that has seen the government implement revenue-cutting measures to shield citizens from the negative impact of the coronavirus.
The economic meltdown has been occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, which has ravaged sectors such as tourism and agriculture which are the leading sources of foreign exchange in the economy.
“The pandemic is placing significant pressure on an already stretched healthcare system. It has disrupted supply chains and caused job losses in the tourism, hospitality, horticulture and airline industries, among others,” AfDB said in the statement.
In addition, informal and self-employed workers have also lost their livelihoods due to the impact of the pandemic.
Since Kenya’s first COVID-19 infection was confirmed on 12 March 2020, cases have risen to over 1,000. As of May 23, the country has cumulatively tested 57,650 samples, out of which 1,192 persons have tested positive for the Coronavirus disease, with 50 people having succumbed so far.