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World Bank approves $750 million loan for Kenya’s COVID-19 recovery

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The World Bank, in an effort to accelerate Kenya’s ongoing inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, on Thursday approved a $750 million loan for the East African country.

The fund is under the Development Policy Operation (DPO) programme of the World Bank. It is expected to strengthen fiscal sustainability through reforms that contribute to greater transparency and the fight against corruption.

According to the World Bank, its finance policy provides rapidly-disbursing financing to help a borrower address actual or anticipated development financing requirements.

DPF supports borrowers in achieving sustainable, shared growth and poverty reduction through a program of policy and institutional actions aimed at, for example, strengthening public financial management, improving the investment climate, addressing bottlenecks to improve service delivery, and diversifying the economy”.

The Washington-based lender said the loan is on concessional terms at an interest rate of about 3%, and will help the East African nation enhance the performance of its domestic debt market, reform the electricity industry and improve governance,

“The government’s reforms supported by the DPO help reduce fiscal pressures by making public spending more efficient and transparent, and by reducing the fiscal costs and risks from key state-owned entities,” Alex Sienaert, senior economist for the World Bank in Kenya, said in the statement.

It’s the fourth time in three years that Kenya has tapped the DPO facility, bringing cumulative borrowing to $3.25bn. East Africa’s biggest economy received $750m in June last year, $1bn in May 2020, and $750m in 2019. Requests for DPOs are presented to the World Bank’s board after the implementation of agreed reforms.

Critics of the World Bank argue that its loans are a mechanism of forcing free-market economics on countries through coercion. Countries with a debt crisis, whatever their other characteristics, agree to the bank’s package of legal and economic reforms, and the bank agrees to lend them money. Argentina, Ecuador, and India have all either weakened their labour legislation or amended their land laws to qualify for an adjustment loan. India is reported to have changed 20 pieces of major legislation.

Kenya consented to a raft of measures to secure the funding, including shifting government procurement to a new electronic platform to make transactions more transparent and reduce opportunities for corruption, the lender said. By the end of 2023, the programme aims to have five strategically selected ministries, departments, and agencies procuring goods and services through the electronic platform, it said.

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Nigeria, Egypt, S’Africa, other developing economies need $2tn annually to achieve net-zero emissions— IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated in a report released on Monday that emerging economies, some of which are African countries, would require about $2 trillion per year by 2030 to meet the target of net-zero emissions by 2050.

An emerging economy is a market that has some characteristics of a developed market but does not fully meet its standards; African countries like Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and Kenya are in this category.

The report “Emerging economies need much more private financing for climate transition”, pointed out that investing significantly in climate mitigation in emerging markets and developing economies, which currently emit about two-thirds of greenhouse gases, was necessary to achieve the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The report read in part:

“These countries will need about $2tn annually by 2030 to reach that ambitious goal, according to the International Energy Agency, with the majority of that funding flowing into the energy industry. This is a fivefold increase from the current $400bn of climate investments planned over the next seven years.

“We project that growth in public investment, however, will be limited and that the private sector will therefore need to make a major contribution toward the large climate investment needs for emerging market and developing economies.

“The private sector will need to supply about 80 per cent of the required investment, and this share rises to 90 per cent when China is excluded, as shown in an analytical chapter of our latest Global Financial Stability Report.”

Additionally, the report asserts that while China and other larger emerging economies have the necessary domestic financial resources, many other nations lack sufficiently mature financial markets that can provide significant amounts of private finance.

Phasing out coal power plants, the single largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions (about 20%), is another major challenge.

Meanwhile, some pan-African arguments have emerged in reaction to the calls to phase out existing energy sources, seeing it as a conspiracy against the continent’s use of energy for development after the sources had been adequately explored for developed economies.

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Despite protests, TotalEnergies gets South Africa’s approval for offshore drilling

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After turning down an appeal from more than a dozen people and lobbying organisations, South Africa’s environment ministry has approved TotalEnergies’ plans to drill for natural gas and oil offshore.

There have been a string of lawsuits seeking to stop energy companies from exploring new offshore discoveries at the foot of Africa, with a specific appeal to stop TotalEnergies from drilling in Blocks 5/6/7 off the coast of Cape Town.

The area in question is 10,000 square kilometres in size and is located offshore roughly between Cape Town and Cape Agulhas. It is 170 kilometres from the coast at its farthest point and 60 kilometres from the coast at its closest point. The water depth ranges from 700 metres to 3,200 metres.

Natural gas and crude oil production are quite limited in South Africa, and consequently, the bulk of South Africa’s crude oil is imported, as the country largely counts on its large coal resources.

The request is for the ministry to revoke the environmental authorization given to the French energy company by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in April, citing issues like marine noise, oil spills, climate change, and inadequate public consultation. But environment minister, Barbara Creecy on Monday dismissed the concerns in a 144-page ruling.

“I am therefore satisfied that the impacts of noise and light have been adequately assessed and mitigated to ensure low impacts on the receiving environment. As such this ground of appeal is dismissed,” Creecy said in the ruling.

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