President William Ruto’s administration has announced plans to repurchase a quarter of Kenya’s Ksh 298.1 billion Eurobond, which is due to maturity in 2024, before the end of this year.
Speaking to Reuters during the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings in Marrakech, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Kamau Thugge clarified that the Ksh74.4 billion payment would come after the acquisition of new loans, easing fears that Kenya would default on the loan.
According to Thugge, CBK is currently negotiating loans ranging from Ksh74.4 billion to Ksh149 billion with two commercial banks.
He emphasized that a portion of these money would be used for Eurobond buybacks, liability management, and national budget support.
Thugge also reported ongoing conversations with the IMF to “augment” Kenya’s loan program, which is expected to be reviewed in November.
He also mentioned talks with the World Bank over a Ksh111.7 billion financial infusion in March 2024.
The governor signaled willingness to request “exceptional access” from the IMF, which would go above and beyond normal financial restrictions.
Exceptional access would allow the CBK to request more than its IMF funding ceiling, and if allowed, it would be the third expansion to the loan program, which was initially set at Ksh 342.8 billion in 2021.
This comes after the National Treasury stated that they were not interested in the repurchasing plan, citing investors”strong’ confidence in the government’s fiscal policy stance.
Treasury’s declaration came the same month as Ruto’s announcement of the government’s plan to buy back at least 50% of the Eurobond by the end of the year.
Investors were opposed to the concept, stating that a buyback could be interpreted as a debt default.
They indicated that if they repaid the loan at a price less than par, they would incur a loss.