Kenya eyes huge bond issue for economic turnaround

NAIROBI: Kenya hopes to raise close to $1.5 billion (1.1 billion euros) in an ambitious international bond issue aimed at revamping crumbling colonial-era infrastructure and accelerating East Africa’s largest economy.

The hunt for liquidity from the global capital markets is central to government efforts to close an unhappy chapter marked by political instability, drought and the fall-out from the international financial crisis that conspired to push economic growth down to 1.5 percent.

Kenya’s economy has since recovered from the 2007-2008 election-related violence, and is protected to expand 5.6 percent in 2013. The government has now set its sights on double-digit growth within five years and middle-income status by 2030.

“We are optimistic the issuance will be overly subscribed,”  Haron Sirima, deputy governor of Kenya’s Central Bank said last week on the sidelines of a International Monetary Fund conference on Kenya’s economic prospects.