Thursday, January 2, 2014

IMF chief Christine Lagarde to visit Kenya

Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde gives a lecture during the 'Room for Discussion' forum in Amsterdam on May 7, 2013.  PHOTO | ANP | LEX VAN LIESHOUT

Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde gives a lecture during the 'Room for Discussion' forum in Amsterdam on May 7, 2013. PHOTO | ANP | LEX VAN LIESHOUT  AFP

By AFP
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WASHINGTON

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will visit Kenya on January 5-8, a month after the final disbursement of a three-year, $750 million support loan for the country.

Lagarde will hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and other political and society leaders, the Fund said Thursday.

The IMF has dubbed Kenya one of the continent's "frontier" economies, a low-income country that has been growing strongly for several years and is headed toward the more sustained "emerging market" stage.

The loan program had backed major restructuring of economic policies and strengthening of the government's financial position.

"I am very much looking forward to my visit to underline the fund's strong partnership with Kenya, one of the most dynamic economies in a region that has been a bright spot in the global economy," Lagarde said in a statement.

"Kenya has emerged as one of Africa's 'frontier economies', and I am very interested in learning how the country's leaders and people will build on this success moving forward."\

FORCASTED GROWTH

The IMF's most recent projections forecast the country growing 6.2 percent in 2014, a pickup from 5.9 percent in 2013 and 4.6 percent the year earlier. (READ: Kenya to miss 5pc growth target)

In a statement on December 2 marking the final disbursement of the loan, the Fund praised the government's "strong commitment to fiscal discipline."

"The external and fiscal positions are now stronger, high inflation has been tamed, and the economy's resilience to shocks has been boosted.

"Improved policies have placed Kenya in a good position to tap the international financial markets."

However, it noted continued risks to the economy, urging continued work with the IMF to help manage the risks.

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