(Ecofin Agency) - Ukur Yatani (pictured) becomes Kenya’s finance minister. The official, who has been acting the role since July 2019, was confirmed on Jan 14 through a reshuffle by President Uhuru Kenyatta. He replaces, Henry Rotich who is under judicial proceedings for alleged corruption.
In the role of acting minister, Ukur Yatani has already won praise for taking action aimed at rationalizing public spending and reducing the growing debt burden. But great efforts remain to be made. The public debt in Kenya reached 62.5% of GDP at the end of September 2019, and in 2020 alone the government must repay the equivalent of $1.4 billion in interest on loans, according to official data. 2020 is also the year in which the repayment of the principal loan contracted with China for the construction of a major railway line is due to begin.
Another presidential objective that the new Finance Minister will have to follow is that of private sector growth, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. They were the first victims of the interest rate cuts and were hardly receiving any credit from the banks. The authorities hope that the withdrawal of this law will significantly reverse the trend in credit granted to this segment.