THE KENYA DEBT RELIEF NETWORK

Linked to our presentation of Moving politics … to the people on January 25, 2006.

Also linked to our presentation of Wahu Kaara – Kenya on January 25, 2006.

The Network’s first activity was a debt procession in April 2000 in Nairobi. The procession was to raise awareness among citizens, the government and international financial institutions on the impact the heavy debt burden has on the provision of social services and to expose the bad economic governance that exist in the government as well as in the international financial institutions.
The procession was considered a threat by the government and was crushed by the police who later arraigned the network members and their supporters to court.

They were however later released after the attorney general entered a nolle prosequi on the case. As a follow up to the above procession, the network members built a consensus among themselves to have a more organized campaign that would run throughout the year and developed and designed an action plan to that effect. Our role as a network has essentially been to demystify the debt crisis in Kenya and propose areas for policy changes in both locally and internationally for sustainable debt management.
We have also been catalyzing public response to the national and international debt crisis through debt clinics, media campaigns, stakeholder workshops networking and public fora.
Kenya’s outstanding public debt is Kshs 612.2bn. Of this Ksh 409.3bn or 47.5 of the debt stock is external while the domestic debt is Ksh 202.9bn which makes 47.51% and 19.1% of the GDP respectively.
Every child when born, automatically inherits over Kshs 25,000 while every family owes at least Kshs 15,000 – a sum of which most of the poor families have never held in their hand and of which if left in their hands would improve their health status and food security.

Worse still the government spends thirteen times more on debt than on health care, four times more on debt servicing than on education, seven times more is spent on servicing the debt than on provision of socio – economic infrastructure such as roads, and energy.

While Kenya’s economy grew at -0.4% in the last financial year, the government of Kenya spent 9.6% of the total revenue collected on debt servicing.

GOAL

The goal of the KENDREN is to empower the public on issues of economic governance and advocate for sustainable debt management.

These are to be achieved through the following specific objectives:

Objectives

Advocate for good governance, accountability, and transparency in resource management, especially in public borrowing.
Demand transparency and accountability from international financial institutions at local and international level.
Empower the public, civil society and private sectors on the issues of debt and advocate for the cancellation of debt.
Build partnership and keep networking with national, regional and international organizations that have similar objectives with the network

Read the rest of the presentation of this NGO on eco news africa.org.

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