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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 July, 2003, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Kenya to greet IMF boss
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki
President Kibaki is hoping for renewed lending within weeks
Kenya is in line for visits from the heads of the two main international financial institutions for the first time in two years.

The visits from International Monetary Fund managing director Horst Koehler on 7 July and World Bank president James Wolfensohn later in July should presage the resumption of international lending to Kenya by mid-month.

The IMF chief is going to Nairobi on his way to the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique on 10-11 July.

Both the IMF and the World Bank froze their ties with Kenya in late 2000, after the previous government of then-President Daniel arap Moi's Kanu party ditched efforts to fight corruption.

But in the wake of the landslide election victory of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) in December, ending 39 years of Kanu rule and two decades under Mr Moi, the new government has revived clean-up efforts.

Parliament passed key new laws in April, and one of President Mwai Kibaki's first actions upon taking office in early January was to appoint John Githongo, an indefatigable anti-corruption campaigner, as the senior civil servant in charge of the fight against dirty dealings.

Work in progress

Before the IMF resumes lending - a prerequisite, in practical terms, for Kenya to get money from anyone else - it also has to satisfy the international bodies that its anti-poverty strategies are up to speed.

The latest budget, unveiled on 12 June, included sizeable spending on fighting poverty, including big rises for education and health to turn around what Finance Minister David Mwiraria dubbed "four decades of misrule".

The strategy promised 500,000 new jobs a year and increased inward investment - dependent, according to the government, on more transparent public spending and improved security.

The spending plans were written to exclude new IMF money, just in case the government's hopes prove unfounded.

Kenya's key tourist trade has been in trouble recently because of security concerns, the economic damage from which was highlighted in late June by the President of neighbouring Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa.

But flights from the UK to Kenya have recently resumed after a three-month hiatus, and the hope in Kenya is that tourist traffic will again begin to pick up.


SEE ALSO:
Kenya targets corrupt officials
17 Apr 03  |  Business
Kenya's new era assessed
08 Apr 03  |  Africa
Corruption fight boosts Kenya
25 Feb 03  |  Business
Kenya wins World Bank favour
11 Feb 03  |  Business


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