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Kenya has already witnessed the withdrawal of Sh11 billion (Sh1.1 trillion) from the Nairobi Securities Exchange

The Group of 20 (G20) leaders’ pledge last month to inject $5 trillion (Sh525 trillion) in fiscal spending into the global economy to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus may have silenced their domestic critics.

It, however, offered little or no comfort to developing countries such as Kenya. This is because no details were released on how they would achieve this Herculean task when they are busy putting out fires at home ignited by the fast-moving disease that has morphed into an economic global crisis.

The developing countries’ discomfort is also fuelled by many of the industrialised counties’ decisions to enact export bans on medical supplies, including medicines that had erstwhile flowed freely before the outbreak of the pandemic. The ban on the export of medicines, including for those used in the treatment of other diseases, has forced many developing countries back to the drawing board at a time when foreign investors have also crippled many bourses by pulling out an estimated $88 billion (Sh9.2 trillion) from emerging markets.

Kenya has already witnessed the withdrawal of Sh11 billion (Sh1.1 trillion) from the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) by foreign investors. The G20 leaders’ pledge has also been undermined by the souring of relations between the two leading economies - US and China - over trade and military dominance.

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Pushed to periphery

Before the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, eastern China, last December, leaders in Beijing were behaving much the same way as those in Tokyo did in the 1980s when there were widespread predictions that Japan’s economy would soon overtake that of the US.

The relationship between Europe and America was also deteriorating fast, with France and Germany signalling their intention to break away from what they considered an overbearing US tendency.

Given these developments, analysts are sceptical there can be any real international cooperation between these leaders until these differences are ironed out.

Inevitably, these developments have pushed the interests of countries like Kenya into the periphery of international concerns.

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To its credit, Kenya appears to understand that it can expect little help from outside at this time and is stepping up efforts to tackle the pandemic.

This is reflected in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent order to the National Treasury to set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.  

G20 Nairobi Securities Exchange NSE Coronavirus Pandemic