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Shs100 Million Parish Development Model (PDM) Cash Earmarked for Parishes

Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
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The Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development (Planning) Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, has revealed that some parishes will, in the Financial Year 2022/2023, receive more money than others under the Parish Development Model (PDM).

The minister made the revelation while presenting a statement to the House on the status of implementation of the PDM on Thursday, 11 August 2022.

In this financial year, each parish is expected to receive Shs100 million for disbursement through Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOS), compared to the Shs17 million that was allocated in the Financial Year 2021/2022.

According to Lugoloobi, 3,914 SACCOS under the PDM programme did not benefit from the Shs17 million allocated to parishes across Uganda as a revolving fund in the Financial Year 2021/2022.

He attributed this to non-readiness where the SACCOS did not register by 30 July 2022 but rather after the closure of the financial year; which prompted some of the revolving funds to be returned to the Consolidated Fund in accordance with the law.

He said the revolving funds that had been released to the local governments but were returned to the Consolidated Fund at the end of the Financial Year 2021/2022, will be provided to the respective parishes, upon validation of the PDM SACCOs registered.

“Additional funding shall be provided to ensure that each Parish/Ward receives the established shortfalls on the Shs17 million planned for the Financial Year 2021/2022, over and above the approved budget for the Financial Year 2022/2023,” Lugoloobi said.

He said that in the Financial Year 2021/2022, Shs139.38 billion out of the Shs234.3 billion appropriated by Parliament for PDM including supplementary funding was released, representing 60 per cent budget performance.

He added that a total of 8,267 PDM SACCOs had been registered by 31 July 2022, under the Registrar of Cooperatives under the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, representing 78 per cent.

The SACCOS are registered under the Cooperative Societies Act (as amended).

In the Financial Year 2022/2023, Parliament appropriated Shs1.142 trillion for the PDM programme, of which Shs1.059 trillion has been appropriated for the revolving fund.

Lugoloobi said that this allocation to the revolving fund that will serve 10,594 parishes across the country indicates that each parish will receive Shs100 million.

“These funds were appropriated to the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, to enable direct disbursement of the revolving funds to the bank accounts of ready PDM SACCOS, upon validation and confirmation of the particulars of members,” the Minister clarified.

So far, Shs134.83 billion has been released in the first quarter of the Financial Year 2022/2023 for PDM activities, representing 11.81 percent.

Lugoloobi told the House that the finance ministry plans to release the parish revolving funds in two tranches – July and January, so that beneficiary households can plant their crops by the start of the two major rain seasons in most parts of the country.

While chairing the House, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa directed the Committee on Public Service and Local Government to update its report with figures presented in the statement, and present it before the House.

“The House gave the same assignment to the committee and their report is ready. I want the committee chairman to take this statement, update and bring it on the Floor next Wednesday for debate,” Tayebwa said.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Applauds Liberia for Removing Gender Discrimination from its Nationality Law

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
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In a major development to prevent statelessness, Liberia has amended its nationality law to grant women and men equal rights to confer nationality to their children.

The President of Liberia signed into law an act to amend the Aliens and Nationality Law on 5 August, removing gender-discriminatory provisions which prevented children from acquiring the nationality of their mother.

“We applaud Liberia’s historic move breaking the gender barrier to conferring nationality. Gender discrimination in nationality laws remains a primary cause of statelessness among children, and this development speaks to Liberia’s commitment to tackle this issue,” said Gillian Triggs, the UN Refugee Agency’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

Liberia is the third country to reform legislation in granting women and men equal rights in passing on their nationality to their children since the #IBelong Campaign to end Statelessness by 2024 was launched in 2014, following Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

UNHCR will continue working with governments to end statelessness and address its root causes. There remain some 24 countries in the world today that continue to have gender discriminatory provisions in their nationality laws regarding a mother’s right to pass on nationality to her children.

Statelessness affects millions of people worldwide. Without a nationality, they are often denied legal rights and access to documentation and critical services, including education, health care and vaccinations. Their lack of nationality can negatively impact all aspects and phases of their lives, from birth to death.

In West Africa, there are at least 1.6 million stateless people or people of undetermined nationality, according to government figures. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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Minister Directed on Body Organ Theft, Labour Export Firms

Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
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The Member of Parliament for Kilak North County, Hon. Anthony Akol, has asked Parliament to direct the Minister for Internal Affairs to clarify on the regulations in place pertaining to labour export.

According to Akol, the minister, while addressing the media recently, said every labour export company in Uganda should ensure that Ugandans seeking work abroad have their body organs checked.

Akol added that the minister had appointed Victoria Hospital to carry out the tests. However, the directive was later on, withdrawn.

“The Minister for Internal Affairs should explain to the House why the directive from the same ministry is being withdrawn. If this is not addressed at the moment, it will affect Ugandans,” Akol said.

He raised the matter of national importance during a plenary sitting on Thursday, 11 August 2022, chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.

Akol noted that during a visit to Dubai in October 2021, he interacted with Uganda’s Ambassador in the country, who said many Ugandans come to Dubai without the knowledge of the Embassy.

He added that many of these Ugandans flee their assigned workplaces in fear of having their body organs harvested.

“We have heard that harvested body organs are sold out and the bodies of the affected persons are fed to crocodiles in some of these foreign countries,” Akol said.

He observed that this made it difficult for the embassy to expeditiously assist Ugandans, especially those who leave their workplaces and seek to return to Uganda.

“The Internal Affairs Minister must explain some of the human rights violations meted on our people in these foreign countries,” Akol further said in his prayers.

He also tasked the Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development to provide a lasting solution to the House, on how Ugandans working abroad can be protected from human rights violations.

The State Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, asked the House for time to compile and present a comprehensive report on the matter.

“This is a cross-cutting issue that involves the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. I request that we work inward across government to present a report that will address the Member’s concerns,” Muhoozi said.

The Deputy Speaker directed the minister to present the report to the House by Wednesday, 17 August 2022.

“The issue is not on the hospital but checking of organs. That is what you should address,” Tayebwa said.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Uganda: Members of Parliament Demand Seedlings to Ward Off Famine

Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
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MPs want government to urgently distribute seedlings to avert the famine in the country.

Kilak North County MP, Hon. Anthony Akol, said that the long dry spell has left Ugandan farmers without seeds, despite the current rainy season.

“This month of August is the right time that we receive rain and people really want to plant.  Government should urgently distribute fast maturing seedlings like maize and beans,” he said.

He was raising a matter of national importance, during plenary sitting on Thursday, 11 August 2022.

Akol called for food distribution to be undertaken in Agago district, where he said that 20 people have died as a result of famine.

AUDIO: Hon. Anthony Akol

“Government should clearly inform us how food insecurity will be managed,” he said.

Hon. Christine Kaaya (NUP, Kiboga district Woman MP) urged government to expedite the feasibility of agricultural insurance and its related application.

“Farmers planted quality seeds and expected to get something. Some of the soils were fertile but the performance of the produce was poor. In order to have food, we must have seeds provided at the moment,” she said.

Kaaya also proposed that the finance ministry should instruct the Parish Development Model (PDM) Committee Savings and Credit Cooperatives Organisation (SACCO) account to release funds to facilitate seed distribution.

“Right now the money is lying idle in the PDM SACCO account,” said Kaaya.

Hon. Charles Tebandeke (NUP, Bbale County) blamed the current shortage of seeds to the incorporation of the Shs4 billion that was allocated for seedling procurement into the PDM.

AUDIO: Hon. Charles Tebandeke

“It is unfair and it will not address the issue of food insecurity in the country. All the cattle corridor is affected by the food insecurity,” said Tebandeke.

The Chairperson of the Committee Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries,  Hon. Jane OKori-Moe, urged government to provide the Shs4 billion, saying that it is the only way to address the lack of seeds.  

“When we were budgeting, we even warned members, we said, ‘This is the only thing we survive. The PDM does not have a food security arrangement,’ ” said Okori-Moe.

She added: “Now people are starving everywhere. We needed just Shs4 billion; Shs2 billion for planting season A and Shs2 billion for planting season B and I request that we provide that money so that people have the seeds.”  

Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma, an army MP and also the Deputy Coordinator, Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) advised his colleagues in the House to introduce a new strategy to address the famine.

Kavuma revealed that the existing government enterprises under the agriculture ministry through OWC, the National Agricultural Advisory Services and PDM are not designed to address the famine challenge.  

AUDIO: Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed the agriculture minister to provide a comprehensive statement on distribution of seeds on Tuesday, 16 August 2022.

“In the statement, we need actions taken to mitigate all these issues that have been raised. This is a very serious matter,” said Tayebwa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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Eritrean Community Festival in Western Canada

Ministry of Information, Eritrea
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Eritrean community festival in Western Canada was conducted on 6 and 7 August in Calgary with patriotic zeal under the theme “Independent Choice-Backbone of Our Pride”.

The festival was highlighted by public seminar, sports competitions, as well as cultural programs.

Indicating the importance of the festival in strengthening unity and transferring the noble societal values, Mr. Temesgen Tsegay, Chairman of the Holidays Coordinating Committee, commended those that contributed in organizing the event and nationals for their participation.

Mr. Estifanos Negusse, head of Public and Community Affairs, conducted seminar to participants on the objective situation in the homeland as well as regional developments.

At the seminar Mr. Estifanos underlining the responsibility the objective situation shoulders on every citizen, called on nationals to strengthen their attachment with their homeland and participation and contribution in the national affairs.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Information, Eritrea.

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United States (U.S.) Supports Nigeria’s Disease Surveillance and Response Efforts

U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria
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On Thursday, U.S. Consul General Will Stevens joined senior Nigerian public health officials at the commissioning of an upgraded biorepository laboratory at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s Central Public Health Laboratory in Yaba, Lagos.

The expansion and equipping of the biorepository were supported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) through COVID-19 CARES Act funding.

In addition to the provision of equipment and medical supplies, the U.S. CDC supported the training of staff of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to improve local capacity in managing the laboratory.

In his remarks, Consul General Stevens noted that the new facility will support Nigeria’s disease control efforts through the cataloguing and storing of blood samples for future use, such as testing to improve the detection and surveillance of new, emerging, and reemerging diseases.

He expressed optimism that the upgraded biorepository laboratory will support Nigeria’s readiness for future epidemic and pandemic responses.   “Today’s commissioning is a major accomplishment of the strategic partnership between the United States and Nigeria to support health security and respond to disease threats,” Consul General Stevens said.

Consul General Stevens highlighted the U.S-Nigeria longstanding partnership with Nigerian health institutions to implement key public health programs, evaluate disease surveillance and response efforts, and contribute to reinforcing the existing public health infrastructure.

“Since 2004, the United States and Nigeria have partnered to improve laboratory networks, systems, and services. These collaborations have consistently yielded results as the nation’s laboratory capacity continues to grow in quantity and quality,” he added.

The biorepository laboratory project was implemented in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Nigeria.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Special Investigating Unit Conducts Search and Seizure at Alexander Bay Diamonds Company Propriety Limited (PTY LTD)

South African Government
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The Johannesburg Magistrate Court on Wednesday, 10 August 2022, has granted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) a warrant to conduct a search and seizure at the premises of the Alexander Bay Diamonds Company PTY LTD (Alexander Bay), previously known as Scarlet Sky Investments 60 PTY LTD, and related companies.

SIU investigators with the assistance of the Hawks are currently raiding the offices of Alexandar Bay in Johannesburg for information and piece of evidence that will assist with an ongoing investigation relating to the affairs of Alexkor, the State’s diamond mining company.

The SIU was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa, under Proclamation No. R 45 of 2021, to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in respect of marketing, valuation, sale and beneficiation of diamonds, pursuant to agreements concluded between Alexkor and service providers.

Alexander Bay was appointed by Alexkor in 2015, as an external service provider, to perform Marketing, Valuation, Sale and Beneficiation in respect of Alexkor Diamonds. The company was allegedly appointed to improve the sales of diamonds, as Alexkor believed that the diamonds were sold below the market value by approximately 30 percent. The circumstances and procurement process followed that led to the appointment of Alexander Bay are subject to SIU investigation.

Alexander Bay has refused to disclose the identity and details around the sale of diamonds to Alexkor and its Chief Executive Officer, citing none disclosure agreement signed with buyers of State diamonds. The company also failed to disclose the details around the sale of diamonds to the State Capture Commission.

The SIU deemed it necessary to approach the Johannesburg Magistrate Court for a search warrant to seize documents and computers in order to assist with an ongoing investigation, as normal processes to request information was likely to be met with the same attitude.

The SIU received a tip off from a whistleblower that there is alleged serious maladministration in the affairs of Alexkor, in respect of the marketing, valuation, sale and beneficiation of diamonds. The raid of Alexander Bay offices is crucial for the SIU to complete its investigation in the affairs of Alexkor.

The SIU is empowered by the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996 (SIU Act) to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in order to fully investigate allegations brought before the Unit.

The SIU is also empowered to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name, to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during both investigations caused by acts of corruption, fraud or maladministration. In line with the SIU Act, the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action.

Fraud and corruption allegations may be reported via the following platforms: [email protected](link is external) / Hotline: 0800 037 774. Enquiries: Mr Kaizer Kganyago Head of Stakeholder Relations and Communications (SIU) 012 843 0048 / 082 306 8888 / [email protected]

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Uganda: Government to establish regional centres to manage disasters

Parliament of the Republic of Uganda
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Government has developed a robust disaster risk management plan that will mitigate impending disasters across the country, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon. Hillary Onek, has said.

Onek said that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is set to establish five regional centres to manage disasters.

This according to the minister will cost government about US$234 million.  

 “As government, we have developed a disaster risk management plan which was recently approved by Cabinet. We intend to confront the impending disasters by positioning ourselves regionally so that response does not only come from Kampala,” Onek said.

According to Onek, government has already committed US$50 million to establish these systems of responses to disasters in the country.  

AUDIO Onek

He said this on Thursday, 11 August 2022 while appearing before the Committee on Presidential Affairs to provide response on government’s interventions on the distressing famine and hunger situation in Karamoja sub region.

 “We plan to have about five regional centres to manage disasters across the country. We shall have regional centres in the East, North, South, West, and Central and will enable us to respond very quickly to any disasters that occur,” Onek said adding that, ’those regional centres will enable us to prepare our population in terms of advocacy and to prepare them to respond to those risks’.

 “Our department doesn’t have a Permanent Secretary who is specifically for disaster preparedness. I am not independent and we cannot plan adequately without interference from the conglomerate of ministers [in OPM]…We don’t have a budget; what is put in our name is contingency fund which is three percent of the national budget, but we don’t even see that money,” he said.

According to the Acting Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Management, Catherine Ahimbisibwe, government has since March 2022 distributed 2,562,000kgs of maize flour and 1,281,000kgs of beans as relief food to affected districts in Karamoja sub region.

She however, decried inadequate funding towards disaster preparedness and management and lack of a new fleet of motor vehicles to ease relief food distribution due to the rising number of disaster victims.

Moroto Municipality MP, Hon. Francis Adome (Moroto Municipality) called for sustainable intervention in Karamoja that involves empowering the people to engage in agriculture.

“It is disturbing that the ministry does not have money; it should be empowered. Karamoja is rich in terms of fertile soils; all that the people need is to empower them into agriculture,” Adome said.

Adjumani East MP, Hon. James Mamawi, also urged government to invest in production as a long term plan to mitigate famine and hunger in Karamoja and reduce the dependence syndrome on relief food.  

The Chairperson of the Committee on Presidential Affairs, Hon. Jesca Ababiku, called for a mindset change in Karamoja where political and cultural leaders engage local communities and shape their mindset into productivity and self-reliance.  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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Thanks to support from the Government of Germany, World Health Organization (WHO) delivers mobile clinics to Benghazi

World Health Organization  Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean
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Using a generous contribution from the Government of Germany, WHO has delivered 2 fully equipped mobile clinics to the Directorate of Health Services in Benghazi to supplement primary health care services in the municipality.  

These mobile clinics will support WHO’s efforts to increase the availability of emergency health care services for vulnerable people including immigrants. The clinics will primarily target internally displaced people and migrants in remote areas who have little access to health care. Each clinic provides a wide range of services, with a special focus on children and women. Gynaecological, internal and paediatric consultations are among the services offered.

In collaboration with its health partners and local authorities, WHO is continuing to train health care staff and provide life-saving medicines, supplies and equipment to help save lives and alleviate suffering in the conflict-affected country.

Ms Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO Representative in Libya, said she was extremely grateful to Germany for its unwavering support. “Over the past few years, we’ve had excellent collaboration with the Government of Germany. Its continued funding is helping us strengthen outreach services in remote communities where health facilities do not exist, are not functional or are inaccessible. We will continue our efforts to scale up mobile clinics to help more people who may have no other access to health care.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. The content is not monitored by the editorial team of African Business and not of the content has been checked or validated by our editorial teams, proof readers or fact checkers. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

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Odinga leads in local media vote counts

Former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga took the lead in Kenya’s tightly contested presidential race on Thursday, according to provisional tallies published by local media.

The Daily Nation, privately owned by the Nation Media Group had Odinga in the lead with a majority 50.05% of the vote, with Ruto at 49.27% of the vote at 15.15 GMT.

Meanwhile, privately-owned Citizen TV also tipped Odinga as the nation’s favourite with 49.48% compared to Ruto’s 49.12%.

The discrepancy in the vote count was explained in terms of each media house accessing the public portal results submitted digitally by polling stations at different times, the chairman of the country’s electoral authority, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati said.

“We hope at the end of tallying they will be harmonized and similar because the results are from the same source,” he said at a briefing on Thursday, assuring the public “not to panic.”

The IEBC is yet to announce any official results, but confirmed that they had received 99.84% at 10.30 GMT on Thursday.

Under Kenya’s tallying process, the paper votes from each constituency are officially counted on site and then dispatched to the national tallying centre for recount and verification.

In order to win, candidates need to secure more than half the ballots cast and at least 25% of the votes in half of Kenya’s 47 counties. The absence of a definitive result will trigger fresh elections within 30 days.

Azimio La Umoja (Declaration of Unity) coalition party presidential candidate Raila Odinga (C) with Maasai leaders and elders who officially endorsed him as their preferred candidate for the Maasai community during a campaign rally in Suswa Grounds, Narok, Kenya on July 30, 2022, ahead of Kenya’s general election.

A new chief in town

Deputy president Ruto took an early lead as local media outlets counted votes from his strongholds first, says Ben Hunter, Africa analyst at UK-based risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft.

“But the vote margins per county mean that Raila Odinga will be president.”

As incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta’s anointed successor, Odinga of the Azimio La Umoja (Delcaration of Unity) coalition party is seen as the continuity candidate and the safest bet for investors.

The election marks his fifth attempt at the presidency, with a pitch to voters to continue large-scale spending on infrastructure projects launched by his rival-turned-patron.

His social platform also spans to boosting social spending with a monthly grants of $50 (KSh6,000) to two million poor families, universal health care and free education from early childhood to tertiary level.

Odinga also promises to “restructure and reprofile” Kenya’s $68.8bn debt with creditors to make it sustainable and remove the need for future bailouts, a pledge which is at odds with Ruto’s plans to address debt by mobilising taxes.

As the son of Kenya’s first vice-president, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who served under Uhuru Kenyatta’s father, Jomo, he is seen as a scion of an entrenched political dynasty.

The former political prisoner qualified as a mechanical engineer in the former East Germany and briefly lectured at the University of Nairobi before entering politics. He was jailed for six years for participating in the failed 1982 coup and has been imprisoned intermittently for campaigning for greater political freedoms.

The 77-year old front-runner has business interests ranging from importing fuel and manufacturing gas cylinders, with his success provoking allegations of corruption.

Self-styled as the champion of the poor, Ruto seeks to empower Kenya’s “hustler nation” of informal workers by investing in agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

“He has portrayed Odinga as elitist on the economy and spun plans to fund employment training programs as essential help for the every-day Kenyan,” says Hunter.

Ruto has also pledged to launch an annual $420m “hustler fund” which aims to provide credits at an affordable rate to 10 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Tinder box

With East Africa’s economic powerhouse in the throes of a two-year drought and sharp food price inflation, tensions could ignite election violence in areas populated by ethnic groups allied with the losing candidate as the results are announced.

“The police have not been significantly reformed since they killed dozens of protestors in 2017,” says Hunter.

Kenya’s debt rose to $68.8bn in 2021, from just $37.7bn, or 34% of GDP, when current president Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected in 2017.

Of that 63% of bilateral debt is owed to China – approximately $7bn – mainly for large-scale infrastructure projects such as the Nairobi Expressway, which cost $668m, according to the World Bank.