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Kenya abandons plan for December payment of $300M Eurobond installment

Kenya has failed to meet the deadline for President William Ruto’s commitment that Kenya would pay the first $300 million instalment of the $2 billion 2014 Eurobond in December 2023.

President William Ruto during a media interview at State House, Nairobi

During his State of the Nation Address in November, President Ruto said that Kenya would make the $300 million (Sh45 billion) payment earlier than the due date which is June 2024.

Bloomberg was first to report that Kenya’s early payment of the $300 million (Sh45 billion) is now at the mercy of lead managers and legal counsels.

“Indeed the government had earlier planned to undertake the buyback before the end of December 2023.

“The decision as to when to access the market shall be guided by the government-appointed joint lead managers and legal counsels based on market conditions,” Treasury PS Chris Kiptoo said.

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Kenya had planned to pay the instalment early to manage rising debt and also boost investor confidence that the country would meet its debt obligations to avoid a default.

However, according to Soeren Moerch, a portfolio manager at Danske, which holds the bond, credit rating companies may downgrade Kenya’s credit rating if the early repayment is done at below-agreed rates.

Moody’s, an international rating company, held that if Kenya redeems the bond at a price below the par value which was agreed on during the bond issue, investors would lose out.

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Kenya was planning on redeeming the $300 million using funds from the Trade and Development Bank.

In November, Kenya abandoned a plan to offer another Eurobond to help settle the debt obligations.

The government shifted from borrowing from the international bond market, reverting to financing from bilateral and multi-lateral partners.

Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu explained that the shift was due to uncertainties in the international bond market.

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Concessional loans refer to loans with favourable terms and conditions that are extended by a lender, often a government or international organization, to a borrower, typically a developing or economically challenged country.

These loans are considered concessional because they come with lower interest rates, longer repayment periods, and more flexible terms compared to standard commercial loans.

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