President William Ruto while issuing his address at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City on Wednesday night, said countries like Kenya are on the brink of losing development gains amid pandemic-related disruptions.
He called upon global financial institutions and the international community to take urgent measures and release all existing financial instruments to provide much-needed additional liquidity and secure better fiscal space for developing countries like Kenya, to enhance social investment, support climate change adaptation and mitigation, address security needs and resolve development financing challenges.
“On behalf of Kenya, therefore, I join other leaders in calling upon the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral lenders to extend pandemic-related debt relief to the worst hit countries, especially those affected by the devastating combination of conflict, climate change and Covid-19,” President Ruto told delegates.
At the same time, President Ruto pleaded with the Group of Twenty (G20) forum to consider adjusting the debt repayment terms by developing countries as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I urge the G20 to extend and expand the scope of the common framework to suspend or reschedule debt repayments by middle-income countries during the pandemic recovery period,” he said.
The President equally championed the bottom-up economic model telling world leaders that his government seeks to include the marginalised working majority in Kenya’s economic mainstream.
“I suggest that we have a golden opportunity to faithfully adhere to this motto by augmenting it, in word and in deed, with an additional “B”: Building Back Better, from the Bottom,” he said.
“Building back better from the bottom upwards is, essentially, about including the marginalised working majority in the economic mainstream. The bottom billion relentlessly wage their daily battle for survival in a crowded arena characterised by scarcity of opportunity and generally precarious existence. The ingenuity, optimism, resilience and energy in this ever bustling bottom is sometimes called hustling,” added Ruto.
As it stands, Kenya has breached its public debt ceiling.
The parliament recently raised the country’s public debt ceiling to Ksh.10 trillion (US$100 billion), giving President Ruto more legal space to borrow.
The new Kenya Kwanza administration has come out to say that the country is broke.