IMPACT

Ukraine war to lengthen post-covid recovery in 140 countries - IMF

According to IMF, up to 73 countries, including Kenya, are eligible to seek debt relief but only three have requested so far.

In Summary

•IMF projects that more than 140 countries face worse prospects in the coming months due to the war.

•According to IMF, up to 73 countries, including Kenya, are eligible to seek debt relief but only three have requested so far.

Image: THE STAR

The ongoing war in Ukraine will lengthen the Covid-19 recovery efforts in developing countries adding to the crises that most are struggling to resolve.

This is according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva.

In her speech, ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank meetings, Georgieva said the IMF projects that more than 140 countries face worse prospects in the coming months due to the war.

“With the challenges of the pandemic, poverty increases and it will be harder to lift people out of poverty,” Jubilee USA executive director Eric LeCompte who has monitored IMF policies for more than a decade said.

Kenya is among many countries already feeling the economic heat of escalating crisis in Ukraine following Russia's invasion which has further disrupted the global supply chain.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, global crude oil prices soared to a near 14-year high of $140 per barrel, before easing.

The impact has caught up with Kenyan motorists, industries and households as petrol and diesel prices increased by Sh9 in this month’s review.

A litre of Super petrol is now retailing at  Sh144.62 in Nairobi up from Sh134.72 while that of diesel is going for Sh125.50 up from Sh115.60.

Due to the escalating crisis, IMF has called for improvements to the G20 Common Framework – a debt restructuring process set up a year and a half ago to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability.

According to the lender's data, up to 73 countries, including Kenya, are eligible to seek debt relief but only three have requested so far.

Ethiopia, Zambia and Chad, who applied for the framework, have not yet received any debt reduction from the G20 process.

Kenya's total public debt is at Sh8.2 trillion or 70 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as of April.

The country's debt increases by Sh40 billion any time the shilling drops a unit against the US dollar.

According to the exchequer's public debt management report for 2019/2020, public debt acquired in the US currency has grown from 42.3 per cent in 2014 on account of commercial debts and sovereign bonds.