Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. He can be reached on [email protected]
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Friday approved an €188 million ($204 million) loan for Kenya to respond to COVID-19 economic fallout.
“We are very pleased to join other development partners in supporting the Government of Kenya’s efforts in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of the country’s expenditure in the health, social and economic sectors. The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post COVID-19,” said the Bank’s Acting Director General for East Africa Nnenna Nwabufo.
More than 1000 people have contracted the virus in Kenya with at least 50 deaths as of May 22, 2020. Roughly 375 people have recovered since the first case was confirmed on march 12, 2020.
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While the pandemic is placing significant pressure on an already stretched healthcare system, it has also disrupted supply chains and caused job losses in the tourism, hospitality, horticulture and airline industries, among others. In addition, informal and self-employed workers have also lost their livelihoods due to the impact of the pandemic.
According to the African Development Bank, “the government’s response to the pandemic has been swift and multi-faceted, covering a range of measures including health-related containment measures, protection of the poor and vulnerable, provision of support to local businesses and to sustaining jobs. The Bank’s intervention, through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Support Program, is designed to support these measures.”
“As a result of demand and supply shocks, Kenya’s real GDP growth is projected to fall to between 0.6 and 1.4 percent from the initial 2020 projection of 6 percent.
“In April, the Bank extended an emergency grant to help countries in the East and Horn of Africa, including Kenya, that are contending with swarms of locusts that are threatening food security. Kenya is facing its worst swarms in 70 years. In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years,” the bank said in a statement.