Kenya seeks $750m loan for affordable homes and agriculture

World Bank loan would also help raise farmers' incomes and support development projects across the East African nation.

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    Two of Kenya's 'Big Four' priorities are raising farmer incomes and increasing the country's affordable housing stock.  Workers unloading tea from a port warehouse in Mombasa, Kenya: [Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg]
    Two of Kenya's 'Big Four' priorities are raising farmer incomes and increasing the country's affordable housing stock. Workers unloading tea from a port warehouse in Mombasa, Kenya: [Trevor Snapp/Bloomberg]

    Kenya requested the World Bank for a $750 million loan to fund affordable housing, agriculture and other development projects amid concerns the East African nation is taking on too much debt.

    The lender meets Tuesday to consider Kenya's request for the loan, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The person asked not to be identified because the matter is still private.

    It's the first proposed so-called Development Policy Financing to support Kenya's reform program to "further enhance economic growth and make it more inclusive," the lender said on its website.

    Some of the funding is for two of the state's so-called Big Four priorities - affordable housing and farmer incomes and food security - while the rest will "create fiscal space to allow the government to invest in key development programs; and crowd in private investment and leverage digitization to support the government's inclusive-growth agenda," the World Bank said.

    If approved, the financing will be hot on the heels of $2.1 billion in Eurobonds that `Kenya raised earlier this month for infrastructure projects and to retire maturing debt. In the first quarter, the government borrowed 125 billion shillings ($1.23 billion) in a syndicated loan, as part of the 299 billion shillings of commercial debt it budgeted for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

    Kenya's public debt reached 5.42 trillion shillings in March, according to the central bank. Public and publicly guaranteed debt was 2.72 trillion shillings while domestic debt was 2.7 trillion shillings. By the end of last year, the government's debt was 5.28 trillion shillings, equivalent to 52.7% of GDP, according to the National Treasury.

    -With assistance from Eric Ombok

    SOURCE: Bloomberg