Kenya: Fifth Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility and Request for A Waiver and Modification of Performance Criteria—Debt Sustainability Analysis

Economic activity in Kenya has remained resilient to uncertainty surrounding the elections, the impact of the European crisis, and security-related concerns. Fiscal policy is in line with the program despite difficulties. International reserves are on the rise, and the deficit of the external current account has shrunk significantly. Key structural reforms to strengthen the institutional framework are under way. A peaceful political transition, strengthened macroeconomic conditions, and structural reforms could unleash Kenya’s growth potential, attract foreign investment, and lay the basis for transforming the country into an emerging-market economy.

Abstract

Economic activity in Kenya has remained resilient to uncertainty surrounding the elections, the impact of the European crisis, and security-related concerns. Fiscal policy is in line with the program despite difficulties. International reserves are on the rise, and the deficit of the external current account has shrunk significantly. Key structural reforms to strengthen the institutional framework are under way. A peaceful political transition, strengthened macroeconomic conditions, and structural reforms could unleash Kenya’s growth potential, attract foreign investment, and lay the basis for transforming the country into an emerging-market economy.

Background

1. Kenya’s overall net public debt-to GDP-ratio has declined over the past two years as a result of prudent fiscal policy and a stable macroeconomic environment. At end-2012, this ratio stood at 43 percent, down from 48 percent at end-2011. Overall public debt is almost evenly split between domestic and external creditors.

2. Most of Kenya’s external debt remains on concessional terms, although its commercial component has increased. At end-2012, nominal public external debt stood at 23 percent of GDP (USD 9.1 billion)—a ratio below that of comparable SSA countries (Figure 1). Multilaterals continue to be the largest source of external credit to Kenya, though their relative share has declined since 2011 (Table 1). Similarly, the share of bilateral creditors, the second most important source of external credit, has declined since 2010. The share of commercial debt has increased to about 10 percent at end-2012, mainly as a result of a syndicated loan of about US $600 million-on which Kenya managed to negotiate favorable conditions thanks to the strengthened macroeconomic environment and investment climate.3 Kenya has not benefitted from debt relief under either the HIPC or MDRI initiatives.

Figure 1:
Figure 1:

External Public Debt in Selected SSA Countries

(percent of GDP, 2012)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 107; 10.5089/9781484390474.002.A002

Sources: Country authorities, and IMF staff estimates.
Table 1.

Kenya: External Debt

article image
Source: Authorities’ data.

3. Kenya’s net domestic debt4 stood at 20 percent of GDP (KShs 708 billion) at end-2012, around the average for 2006-2012 (Figure 2). It is mostly held by commercial banks in the form of T-bills and government bonds (comprising of 30 percent and 70 percent of domestic debt, respectively). However, the share of domestic debt held by non-banks has increased from 40.8 percent to 43 percent of the total between 2011 and 2012, reflecting a diversification of the domestic investor base. Despite the relatively large size of the domestic debt, rollover risks appear moderate as Kenya has focused on extending the average maturity of its debt, which is now 5.6 years.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Kenya: Public Domestic Debt

(percent of GDP)

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 107; 10.5089/9781484390474.002.A002

Sources: Authorities’ data.

4. The authorities have continued to improve debt management. In July 2012, a new PFM law was approved, which raised the Debt Management Office to the level of agency within the Ministry of Finance, with overarching responsibility on managing Kenya’s public debt. In fact, the 2012 PEFA assessment highlighted the improved debt and budget management capacities.5 In 2012, the Debt Management Department produced on its own, the Medium Term Debt Strategy (MTDS).6

Underlying Assumptions

5. This DSA is based on macroeconomic assumptions that are consistent with the framework outlined in the staff report for the Fifth Review under the Extended Credit Facility.7 Notable revisions compared to the December 2011 DSA include:

  • Real GDP growth is projected to be somewhat lower over the short and medium term to reflect the impact of the weaker global economic environment. (Table 2)

  • The primary fiscal deficit is projected to be lower in the medium and long term, reflecting the authorities’ revised fiscal consolidation path.

  • The GDP deflator is projected to be lower in the short term as a result of the recent success in bringing down inflationary expectations.

  • The projected current account deficit in the short and medium term is wider because of surging imports associated with oil exploration-related investment.

  • The discount rate in the DSA template, used to calculate the present value (PV) of external debt, was reduced from 4 percent to 3 percent.

Table 2.

Kenya: Selected Macroeconomic Assumptions

article image

Kenya: Macroeconomic Assumptions for 2013–2033

  • Real GDP growth in 2011 and 2012 remained at an average 4.5 percent, lower than the last DSA, because of the Horn of Africa drought that hit agricultural production and hydro-power generation, and the weak global economic environment. In 2013, real GDP growth is projected to recover close to its projected long-term average (6 percent), similar to the last DSA.

  • Inflation, measured by the GDP deflator, dropped down from 14 percent in 2011 to 10 percent in 2012, lower than projected in the last DSA, thanks to successful monetary tightening and the reversal of the large depreciation of the Kenyan shilling experienced in 2011. It is assumed to average about 6 percent over the medium term.

  • The growth of exports of goods and services averages about 7 percent in the medium term, broadly unchanged from the previous DSA. Despite assuming continued strong import volume growth, the overall import growth of goods and services is smaller than in the previous DSA thanks to projected lower commodity prices, in particular, fuel.

  • The noninterest current account deficit in 2011 hit a high 9.4 percent of GDP, because the drought in the Horn of Africa reduced hydropower generation and increased fuel imports. It is projected to remain at 9 percent in 2012 because of rising capital imports associated with oil-exploration-related investment, financed by foreign direct investment inflows. Both our average long-run projections of the non-interest current account deficit and net FDI inflows are higher than under the previous DSA reflecting the assumed acceleration in oil-exploration-related investments and the improved business climate.

  • The external DSA has been revised to reflect the following: (a) A loan of US $80 million (to finance the Biometric Voter Registration Kits) contracted in 2012; and (b) a planned sovereign bond in the amount of $1 billion to be disbursed in 2013-2014 (as opposed to $500 million assumed in the 2011 DSA), part of which will be used to repay the 2012 syndicated loan.

  • A lower grant element on new public sector borrowing in 2013 and 2014 that reflects the planned issuance of a sovereign bond. The grant element on new borrowing is projected to decline gradually as the country develops and relies more on commercial borrowing.8

  • The primary fiscal deficit in percent of GDP averages around 1.4 percent of GDP during 2013–18 and to 1.1 percent in the longer term projections, lower than under the previous DSA, reflecting the favorable developments in fiscal accounts in recent years.

External Debt Sustainability Analysis

6. All external debt indicators remain well below the policy-dependent debt burden thresholds under the baseline scenario, and no thresholds are breached under any of the standard stress tests. The main results of the external DSA are the following:

  • The debt burden would decline substantially over the 20-year projection period (Table 1a) under the baseline scenario. As a result of the planned issuance of a sovereign bond, the NPV of external debt to GDP ratio would rise to 20 percent at end-2013 (1 percentage point of GDP higher than the last DSA), but by 2033, this ratio would decline to 8 percent of GDP (well below the 40 percent indicative threshold). The NPV of debt-to-exports ratio would rise to about 90 percent by 2018 but then would gradually decline to 49 percent by 2033 (compared to an indicative threshold of 150 percent).

  • Standard stress tests do not reveal any significant vulnerability (Table 1b and Figure 1) as even the shocks with the highest impact would maintain debt levels below the relevant indicative thresholds. The shock that would have the largest impact on external debt dynamics results from a one-time 30 percent nominal depreciation of the exchange rate (similar to the previous DSA) in 2014 and from a permanent shock to the terms of new public sector loans, increasing the PV of debt to GDP ratio from 16 to 22 percent, still well below the relevant threshold.

Table 1a.:

External Debt Sustainability Framework, Baseline Scenario, 2010-2033 1/

(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

article image
Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

Includes both public and private sector external debt.

Derived as [r - g - ρ(1+g)]/(1+g+ρ+gρ) times previous period debt ratio, with r = nominal interest rate; g = real GDP growth rate, and ρ = growth rate of GDP deflator in U.S. dollar terms.

Includes exceptional financing (i.e., changes in arrears and debt relief); changes in gross foreign assets; and valuation adjustments. For projections also includes contribution from price and exchange rate changes.

Assumes that PV of private sector debt is equivalent to its face value.

Current-year interest payments divided by previous period debt stock.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years, subject to data availability.

Defined as grants, concessional loans, and debt relief.

Grant-equivalent financing includes grants provided directly to the government and through new borrowing (difference between the face value and the PV of new debt).

Table 1b.

Kenya: Sensitivity Analysis for Key Indicators of Public and Publicly Guaranteed External Debt, 2013–2033

(In percent)

article image
article image
Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

Variables include real GDP growth, growth of GDP deflator (in U.S. dollar terms), non-interest current account in percent of GDP, and non-debt creating flows.

Assumes that the interest rate on new borrowing is by 2 percentage points higher than in the baseline., while grace and maturity periods are the same as in the baseline.

Exports values are assumed to remain permanently at the lower level, but the current account as a share of GDP is assumed to return to its baseline level after the shock (implicitly assuming an offsetting adjustment in import levels).

Includes official and private transfers and FDI.

Depreciation is defined as percentage decline in dollar/local currency rate, such that it never exceeds 100 percent.

Applies to all stress scenarios except for A2 (less favorable financing) in which the terms on all new financing are as specified in footnote 2.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Kenya: Indicators of Public and Publicly Guaranteed External Debt under Alternatives Scenarios, 2013–2033 1/

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 107; 10.5089/9781484390474.002.A002

Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.1/ The most extreme stress test is the test that yields the highest ratio in 2023. In figure b. it corresponds to a Onetime depreciation shock; in c. to a Terms shock; in d. to a One-time depreciation shock; in e. to a Non-debt flows shock and in figure f. to a One-time depreciation shock

Public Debt Sustainability Analysis

7. The debt dynamics for public debt are now more favorable than under the last DSA. At 43 percent, the public debt-to-GDP ratio in 2012 was lower than the originally projected 48 percent. The PV of public debt-to-GDP ratio would edge down from 40 percent in 2013 to 39 percent by end-2018 (Table 2b). The PV of public debt-to-revenue ratio gradually would decline from 166 percent to 157 between 2013 and 2018.

Table 2a.

Kenya: Public Sector Debt Sustainability Framework, Baseline Scenario, 2010–2033

(In percent of GDP, unless otherwise indicated)

article image
Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

[Indicate coverage of public sector, e.g., general government or nonfinancial public sector. Also whether net or gross debt is used.]

Gross financing need is defined as the primary deficit plus debt service plus the stock of short-term debt at the end of the last period.

Revenues excluding grants.

Debt service is defined as the sum of interest and amortization of medium and long-term debt.

Historical averages and standard deviations are generally derived over the past 10 years, subject to data availability.

Table 2b.

Kenya: Sensitivity Analysis for Key Indicators of Public Debt 2013–2033

article image
Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.

Assumes that real GDP growth is at baseline minus one standard deviation divided by the square root of the length of the projection period.

Revenues are defined inclusive of grants.

8. The alternative scenarios and bound tests indicate that the projected paths for all debt indicators do not breach the relevant thresholds (Table 2b and Figure 2). The shock with the highest negative impact on debt dynamics is a two-year growth shock in 2014–2015, which pushes the ratio of PV of debt-to-GDP to 54 percent in 2023 from the baseline 36 percent; the PV of debt-to-revenue ratio to 213 percent from 144 percent, and the PV of debt service-to-revenue ratio to 28 percent from 22 percent by 2023.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Kenya: Indicators of Public Debt Under Alternative Scenarios, 2013–2033 1/

Citation: IMF Staff Country Reports 2013, 107; 10.5089/9781484390474.002.A002

Sources: Country authorities; and staff estimates and projections.1/ The most extreme stress test is the test that yields the highest ratio in 2023.2/ Revenues are defined inclusive of grants.

Main Findings and Conclusions

9. The analysis of this DSA shows that Kenya continues to face low risk of external debt distress. Moreover, total public debt dynamics have improved compared to the last DSA as a result of significant fiscal consolidation and still prudent external borrowing as well as a strengthened macroeconomic environment.

10. The biggest risks to external debt sustainability come from exchange rate shocks and less favorable terms on new public sector loans. For the overall public debt, sustainability could deteriorate if a significantly lower than anticipated growth materializes. In particular, this could be triggered by the following adverse developments:

  • a repeated and more severe drought could adversely affect agricultural production and hydro-power generation that would reduce economic growth, increase food and oil-related imports and lead to a widening of the current account deficit.

  • a protracted slowdown in trading partner growth, in particular, in the Euro area, coupled with declining commodity prices that would lower tourism and main export earnings (e.g. tea, horticulture and coffee), reduce remittance and FDI inflows, with a significant impact on economic growth. However, in the external balances, these effects would be more than offset by a likely decline in oil prices.

  • an increase in global food and fuel prices would raise the import bill and put pressure on the current account and the exchange rate.

11. The DSA has been produced jointly with the authorities, who fully concur with its conclusions. The Kenyan authorities have used it to analyze alternative policy scenarios to help maintain a prudent borrowing strategy. They concur on the importance of relying further on concessional financing, analyzing the impact of new borrowing on debt sustainability, maintaining fiscal discipline, and continuing to build up international reserves to mitigate adverse effects from exogenous shocks to the economy.

1

World Bank classifies Kenya as a “medium performer” in terms of the quality of its policies and institutions as measured by a three-year average of the World Bank’s Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) Index. The relevant indicative thresholds for this category are: 40 percent for the NPV of debt-to-GDP ratio, 150 percent for the NPV of debt-to-exports ratio, 250 percent for the NPV of debt-to-revenue ratio, 20 percent for the debt service-to-exports ratio, and 30 percent for the debt service-to-revenue ratio. These thresholds are applicable to public and publicly guaranteed external debt.

3

For the first time, Moody assigned Kenya a rating B1, and S&P a rating of B+, with a stable outlook, which should enable Kenya to negotiate a favorable rate for the planned sovereign bond issuance in 2013–2014.

4

Net domestic debt refers to net of public sector assets (deposits).

6

On Budget Management the following improvements were made: (i) a new independent Office of the Comptroller of the Budget was established, which has sole authority to authorize debt payments. In addition, this office audits budget execution and produces independent reports; (ii) a new Attorney General has been appointed, using a new constitutionally-mandated vetting process. The Attorney General Office has broad PFM functions, including the authorization of signing any new external loans (such as the syndicated loan); and (iii) the new PFM law has been approved and enacted in August, 2012.

7

This DSA consists of two parts: external and public. The external DSA covers external debt of the central government and the central bank. The public DSA covers total debt-external and domestic-incurred or guaranteed by the central government. Public domestic debt comprises central government debt. In this analysis, total public debt refers to the sum of public domestic and public external debt, but does not cover the entire public sector (e.g., parastatal borrowing without a government guarantee is not covered).

8

The grant element on new borrowing in the medium term is projected at 11 percent and in the long-term is 12 percent compared to 19 and 23 percent, respectively, in the last DSA, reflecting more conservative assumptions for access to concessional financing. The projected share of commercial external borrowing increases from 15 percent in 2015 to 43 percent by 2033. In 2012, the share of external debt stock contracted from multilateral institutions was 60 percent; from official bilateral institutions was 30 percent, and 10 percent from commercial creditors and other.