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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

IMF suggests discusions with Kenya make significant progress

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Friday that significant progress was made during the visit by its review mission to Kenya, noting that discussions will continue in the coming weeks.

The IMF’s review which ended on Thursday was expected to see Kenya allowed or denied further access to 1.5 billion U.S. dollars forex insurance program with Kenya, which expires in September.

The lender which did not mention the status of the standby facility however said discussions focused on fiscal policies to achieve the authorities’ fiscal deficit target of 5.7 percent of GDP in 2018/19 fiscal year; interest rate controls; and structural reforms aiming to ensure the sustainability of investment-driven, inclusive growth.

"The authorities reiterated their commitment to macroeconomic policies that would maintain public debt on a sustainable path, contain inflation within the target range, and preserve external stability," IMF in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The IMF team and the Kenyan authorities had agreed that a reduction in the fiscal deficit to 7.2 percent of GDP in 2017/18 and further to 5.7 percent of GDP in 2018/19, from 8.8 percent in 2016/17 would be appropriate.

The IMF mission however said Kenya’s economy has continued to perform well, with real GDP growth accelerating to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2018, from 4.9 percent in 2017.

"The acceleration of growth is being driven primarily by strengthened confidence following the conclusion of the prolonged election period, favorable weather conditions, and a continued recovery in tourism," Clements said.

He said inflation has remained within the authorities’ target range since July 2017 as better weather conditions have brought down food inflation.

Headline CPI growth was 4.3 percent year-on-year as of June 2018, while core inflation remained low at 3.6 percent year-on-year.

             

 

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