IMF chief has “great hope” for Kenya after visit

By on 08/05/2014
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, on her recent trip to Kenya. IMF Photograph/Stephen Jaffe

The economic outlook for Kenya looks positive, with ongoing fiscal and policy reforms set to drive growth and spread prosperity more widely in the country.

That’s the view of Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, who visited the country earlier in the year.

Lagarde writes on her blog that Kenya is one of the “frontier economies” in sub-Saharan Africa – a region that as a whole is enjoying robust growth.

Kenya has benefited from this trend, and Lagarde says it is on the cusp of achieving middle-income status. The growth has been led by foreign investment and a flourishing private sector, enabling the country to position itself as an economic hub for the whole region.

In a meeting with senior Kenyan officials, Lagarde reports that she was “struck by their deep commitment to…policies that can ensure the country’s recent achievements form the foundation for future success.”

For example, she states that ongoing economic reform will help to keep inflation low, and create job opportunities for young people. This is all part of maintaining Kenya’s positive momentum, which Lagarde believes can be further achieved by following three clear steps.

First, she says Kenya must complete its current fiscal devolution, ensuring all parts of Kenya have access to resources and that the fruits of growth are shared more widely among the population.

Second, Lagarde believes the country must continue to invest in infrastructure to support the growing economy. This will also help encourage investment in the country, and create jobs.

Third, she recommends that Kenya continues to play an active part in regional integration, cooperating with other East African nations such as Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda wherever possible. A key step in this is the move towards a shared currency – a process that was initiated at the end of last year.

With a clear focus by its government on maintaining growth, Lagarde says she has “great hope for Kenya’s future.” She praises the Kenyan people for their “fortitude and courage” in the midst of recent challenges, including the Westgate Mall attack last September, and concludes by saying: “They stand on the threshold of a new future for their country, and for Africa.”

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In related news, the IMF and the Government of Mozambique are convening a conference on 29 – 30 May to analyse Africa’s recent economic performance.

The conference will be held in Maputo, and will bring together policy makers from across the continent, and more widely, to share insights and best practice with a view to encouraging ongoing sustainable growth in the region.

 

About Kevin Sorkin

I am the Founder and CEO of Pendragon International Media Ltd, publishers of Global Government Forum. This portfolio also includes research services and important world leading events for public servants such as the Global Government Summit, the Global Government Finance Summit, the Global Government Forum Innovation conference, Global Government Digital Summit and Putting Citizens First. I am also the founder of the Civil Service Awards and Civil Service Live, established industry leading brands and extremely important events for government. I also launched and published Civil Service World. Over the years I have established relationships with the most senior officials in government and the private sector and have built a very strong and positive reputation across the industry.

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