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Ruto addresses presidents in Nandi & tells lenders 'mambo ni matatu'

President Ruto tells international lenders that "mambo ni matatu"

President William Ruto addressed the official opening of the Heads of State Session of the Africa Climate Summit held at KICC, Nairobi on September 5, 2023

President William Ruto on Tuesday, September 5, addressed the official opening of the Heads of State Session of the Africa Climate Summit held at KICC, Nairobi.

President Ruto rallied the continent and the world to take bold actions including redesigning the global financial architecture, saying that African countries are charged very high interest rates for development financing.

During his speech, the head of state paid homage to both his vernacular language as well as the recent “mambo ni matatu” phrase that has gone viral in Kenya.

President Ruto was trying to hammer the importance of redesigning lending by multilateral and international partners to developing countries.


President Ruto explained that unfair lending practices had made debt look undesirable, giving an example of his community where people don’t think that debt can be a good thing.

According to finance experts, debt used to help build wealth or improve a person's financial situation is considered good debt. However, a loan that is unaffordable or doesn't offer long-term benefits might be considered bad debt.

“When I was first elected as a member of Parliament in a rural constituency in Kenya, I represented a community that is so proud that they think that is not a good thing they are risk-averse and very debt-averse. Then there was this phrase, and I want to say it in the indigenous language, kaikai kobarin panan kosir kobarin pesen (Better to be killed by poverty than be killed by debt).


“To contextualize that into this debate, we in this continent don't want to die of debt and we don't want to die of poverty. That is why we must have a conversation around multilateral development and concessional financing and how we can finance our economies using resources that do not punish us,” Ruto stressed.

President Ruto further said that accessing financing had three key elements, which are speed, scale and affordability.

“When we are thinking about financing for us in Africa, three things are very important. As they say in Kenya, mambo ni matatu.


Number one, speed. It takes inordinate (time) to access any meaningful resources. Number two, it requires skill because we've all agreed that enormous resources are required and number three, affordability so that we both pay the same,” the head of state spoke.

He added that Africa must use this opportunity to lead the world in a new direction towards a future that holds immense promise for both Africa and the entire world.


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