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President Ruto unveils plan to privatise 35 state companies in Kenya, 100 more in the pipeline

President William Ruto
  • President William Ruto of Kenya announced the government's intention to privatize 35 state-owned companies.
  • His administration is also considering the privatization of another 100 firms following the recent enactment of a law aimed at reducing bureaucratic processes. 
  • The last instance of state privatization in Kenya occurred in 2008 with telecommunications company Safaricom.

On Thursday, President William Ruto of Kenya announced the government's intention to privatize 35 state-owned companies.

His administration is also considering the privatization of another 100 firms following the recent enactment of a law aimed at reducing bureaucratic processes.

According to Reuters, the last instance of state privatization in Kenya occurred in 2008 when the government conducted an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for 25% of the shares in the telecommunications company Safaricom.

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"We have identified the first 35 companies that we are going to offer to investors," Ruto told a meeting of African stock market officials in the capital Nairobi.

Ruto refrained from specifying the companies to be privatized, and Finance Minister Njuguna Ndung’u opted not to disclose them as well.

The legislation endorsed by Ruto last month outlines various methods for privatization, including Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and the sale of shares through public tendering processes.

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Kenya is currently facing acute liquidity challenges, driven by uncertainty surrounding its capacity to secure funding from financial markets ahead of the maturity of a $2 billion Eurobond in June 2024.

President Ruto had said Kenya will repay $300 million of its $2 billion Eurobond in December, ahead of its June maturity date.

The decision comes after Kenya explored funding options, including seeking support from multilateral lenders such as the IMF and World Bank, and considering syndicated loans to facilitate the repayment.

The IMF recently announced a staff-level agreement with the country, allowing for immediate access to $682.3 million and an increase in the current program's funding by $938 million.

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