Kenyan President William Ruto urged his constituents who “hoard” US dollars to get rid of them as the government plans to import fuel in Kenya shillings.
Ruto’s comment comes after the exchange rate for the dollar rose to as high as Kenyan Shilling 145.5, according to Capital FM.
However, dollar requests are expected to decrease in the coming weeks after the Kenyan government and its Saudi counterpart signed an import agreement for fuel importation on credit.
“And So I just want to assure those in Kenya who were facing challenges of access to dollars that we have taken steps to ensure that dollar availability in the next couple of weeks is going to be very different because our fuel companies will now be paying for fuels in Kenya shilling,” the President said during the listing of the Laptrust Imara I-REIT at the Nairobi Securities Exchange last Wednesday.
“They do not to look for dollars every month because we have done what we must do as a government to ensure that we ease the burden on people who want to realize their returns in dollars,” he added.
“I am giving you free advice that those of you who are hoarding dollars you shortly might go to losses you better do what you must do because this market is going to be different in a couple of weeks,” he added.
K24TV wrote: “The government has entered into an agreement with players in the fuel industry that will see Kenyans access fuel on a deferred six-month credit. Through the new plan, only government-to-government purchase of oil would be allowed and the state would import oil through long-term contracts of nine months that allow payment to be done within six months. The agreement according to President William Ruto will ease the demand of about 500 million dollars every month from the market, all that in a bid to fix the dollar shortage in the country.”
The United States now faces competition in Africa from either China or Russia. However, US officials deny the existence of any competition, according to Cameron Hudson, a senior associate at the Africa program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
President Joe Biden’s administration is stepping up a campaign to build American influence in Africa, where the US has lost ground to its main rivals in what’s starting to look like a new Cold War.
Vice President Kamala Harris next week becomes the latest top official to visit, with stops scheduled in Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia. She’s following Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who’ve both been in the region recently. At a December summit with the continent’s leaders, Biden pledged a $55 billion support package for Africa.
The push to engage with the mineral-rich continent comes as Russia’s war in Ukraine – and the escalating standoff between the US and China – shake up global diplomacy. Both sides are seeking to win over non-aligned countries in places like Africa.
According to Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov, Vladimir Putin will deliver a speech at the meeting that will lead up to the second Russia-Africa summit on July 27 and 28 in St. Petersburg.
More than 40 delegations from African countries are expected to take part in the parliamentary conference “Russia-Africa in the Multipolar World,” according to TASS.
“More than 40 delegations from the countries of the African continent will take part in the conference, a major run-up event to the second Russia-Africa summit,” Kremlin said.
Recall, Vladimir Putin said Russia wrote off African countries’ debts totaling over $20 billion in 2022. Putin also revealed that by year’s end, trade between Russia and Africa had almost reached $18 billion.
Putin Wants Trade Between Russia and Africa Bolstered
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in 2022 Moscow wrote off debts of African countries that totaled over $20 billion. During the same year, trade between the two sides nearly topped $18 billion.
Speaking at a recent international conference, Putin, whose country has been hit by Western sanctions, also talked about the possibility of increasing the value of trade between the two regions.
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“It is unlikely that such a figure can fully suit us, but we know that this is far from the limit,” Putin reportedly said.
Besides bolstering direct trade between his country and the African continent, the Russian leader also spoke about his envisioned global financial system that is not dominated by the U.S. dollar. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Western countries responded by imposing sanctions on Moscow and cutting off the country from the global financial system.
To counter the West’s move, Russia has not only advocated for an alternative to the dollar-dominated financial system, but has signed bilateral agreements with countries like China and India. Under the terms of some of the agreements, national currencies are used to settle trades.
Meanwhile, in his message to African countries, Putin also talked about the development of what he called “counter-commodity exchanges.” The Russian leader claimed that a “more energetic transition in financial settlements to national currencies” as well as “the establishment of new transport and logistics chains” may facilitate the development of the envisioned commodity exchanges.
Concerning what he termed the Western countries’ “neo-colonial ideology,” Putin claimed that the majority of the world still “upholds moral norms and social principles traditional for our peoples” and is opposed to ideals that are imposed from outside.