Loan will go towards strengthening health systems and build economic resilience.
Kenya will receive a 188 million euro (Sh22 billion) loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to boost the battle against Covid-19.
The AfDB board of directors on Friday approved the loan, which is aimed at helping Kenya mitigate the economic, health and social impact of the pandemic.
The support is expected to strengthen the national health system to effectively respond to the pandemic, build economic resilience and ensure quick recovery, the board said.
The intervention will also be used to support the poor and vulnerable who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.
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“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,” said AfDB Acting Director General for East Africa Nnenna Nwabufo.
“The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post-Covid-19.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has struck hard, creating disarray in the health sector. As of yesterday, 1,192 people in the country had been confirmed to be infected, with 50 deaths from the disease.
Efforts to mitigate the disease have stretched the economy, even as infections rise, burdening health facilities that, even before Covid-19, were inadequate.
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Studies have projected far-reaching effects of the disease, with households and companies struggling to stay afloat. Organisations and individual well-wishers have been at the frontlines of extending aid to the most vulnerable Kenyans.
Checking the spread
The government has measures in place aimed at checking the spread of the deadly virus, among them a dusk-to-dawn curfew and cessation of movement into and out of five counties - Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Mandera.
“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,” said AfDB in its statement.
“The bank’s intervention, through the Covid-19 Emergency Response Support Programme, is designed to support these measures.”
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As a result of demand and supply shocks, Kenya’s real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to fall to between 0.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent from an initial 2020 projection of six per cent. The Institute of Economic Affairs-Kenya puts growth projections at 0.8 per cent.