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Kenya’s currency pushes public debt to record high of Ksh11.14 trillion

Kenya had added Ksh1.93 trillion ($13.3 billion) to its overall debt at the end of 2023. Currently, the country’s public debt stands at Ksh11.14 trillion ($76.83 billion), which is an all-time high for the East African giants. Multilateral loans during this period increased while bilateral loans decreased.

Kenyan Shilling
  • Kenya's public debt reaches a historic high of Ksh11.14 trillion ($76.83 billion) by the end of 2023.
  • Multilateral loans show a significant increase, while bilateral loans decrease during the same period.
  • Currency depreciation played a crucial role in contributing to 73% of the total debt increase in 2023.
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According to the estimation by the East African publication, Kenya's debt for 2023 had a daily increase of Ksh5.29 billion ($36.5 million). The year also brought about the depreciation of the nation's currency and the rise in the cost of living.

The falling value of the country's currency, (Kenyan Shilling) added significantly to external public debt throughout the year, making up 73% (or Ksh1.4 trillion) of the total increase.

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“The gross public debt as of December 31, 2023, increased by Ksh1.93 trillion to Ksh11.1397 trillion compared to Ksh9.2 trillion ($63.45 billion) as at the end of December 2022. The gross public debt comprised 54.7 percent external debt and 45.3 percent domestic debt," Treasury reported in the October-December 2023 quarterly economic and budget review report.

“The increase in the public debt is attributed to external loan disbursements; exchange rate fluctuations; and uptake of domestic debt during the period.”

During the year under review, total external public debt increased by Ksh1.416 trillion, hitting Ksh6 trillion, while the country’s domestic debt increased by Ksh514.48 billion, which totaled Ksh5 trillion.

The most significant increase, $1.62 billion, was seen in multilateral loans, which came from institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, in the year ending in December, bilateral loans (from foreign nations) decreased by $692.72 million to $9.089 billion.

“Compared to the same period in FY 2022/23, external public debt stock from multilateral institutions, commercial banks, and from suppliers’ credit recorded an increase of Ksh1.62 trillion, Ksh105.4 billion, and Ksh8.8 billion respectively in the period ending December 2023. Stock from bilateral sources recorded a decrease of Ksh692.7 billion in the period under review,” the Treasury stated.

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