, WASHINGTON, Oct 11 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has called for increased representation for Africa in the Bretton Woods Institutions.
In a panel discussion on the "State of African Economies in the Wake of Financial Crisis" at the ongoing Annual IMF/ World Bank meetings in Washington DC, Mr Kenyatta supported a call by African Finance Ministers for a third slot in the International Monetary Fund Board.
The call comes after the recent addition of one chair for Sub-Saharan Africa to make it three on the World Bank Board.
He added that Africa is looking forward to the next replenishment of Individual Development Accounts (IDA) funds hoping that large players will recognise Africa as a major stake holder in the global economy.
Regarding Kenya, Mr Kenyatta said the country is faced with challenges on food security and expectations after promulgation of the new Constitution which, are being addressed with a number of stimulus programmes.
Together with other factors resulting from the global financial crisis, a downturn in 2007 from a growth of about 7 percent to 1.7 percent in 2008-2009 had resulted.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he now expects Kenya\’s growth to reach five percent in 2010 from an earlier forecast of 4.5 percent after a strong first two quarters, with promising signs on tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
Mr Kenyatta also acknowledged the recognition of the private sector by the IMF and World Bank as the path for growth. "We are strongly and firmly on the path that growth must be private sector led," he said.
Answering a question on differing statistics provided in the government estimates, the Minister said that together with the Central Bank, they are investing on strengthening the ability to gather them.
He observed that the statistics gathered only reflect the formal sector ignoring the large informal sector.
"We are working on the process of financial inclusion by bringing together a lot of people in the informal sector and mainstreaming the formal sector to enable us capture a lot of people who are not captured through the formal sector statistics being used," he said, comparing the large number of informal jobs to the formal ones.
He added that creation of job opportunities, programmes on health issues, education and climate change were issues that must be addressed to realise growth in Africa. He also called upon African countries to increase trade between them in order to caution themselves from global financial crisis.
In the panel were also Finance Ministers from Sierra Leone, Comoros and the Central African Republic.
Mr Kenyatta is leading a Kenyan delegation to the Annual World Bank/IMF meetings which also includes the Treasury PS, Joseph Kinyua, Economic secretary, Geoffrey Mwau, Central Bank Governor, Prof Njuguna Ndung\’u and the External Relations Director, Joseph Kinyanjui among other senior officials.