Kenya to sell residency permits and citizenship to repay suffocating $50 billion national debt

Mohammed Awal November 21, 2019
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Picture source: CNN

Kenya is set to begin the sale of citizenship, passports, permanent and special visa programs to repay its ballooning domestic and foreign debt.

The country’s domestic and foreign debt is said to be at $50 billion, 15 percent beyond the recommendations set for developing countries by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

That is in addition to the current annual borrowing of nearly $2 billion to retire matured loans, finance infrastructure and address other budgetary expenditures.

It is therefore feared that in a few years of excessive borrowing and increasing debt ceilings without growing the economy or creating new innovative tax base, the national debt burden will reach an unsustainable level and risks of economic decline.

Thus the sale of citizenship and residency permits among other products to foreign nationals to raise revenue to repay or considerably reduce the suffocating national debt, reports Daily Nation.

Kenyan is not the first country to resort to the sale of those items as a commodity to raise income to fund the bloating debt crisis.

Countries across the globe, from the US to the small island nations of the Caribbean like St. Kitts and Navis adopted similar packages to prop up their economies; among them; the US (EB-5 visa programme), Spain (Golden visa programme), Canada (The Federal Immigrant Investor Program), Thailand (“Elite” visa residency).

Interested rich people in the services being offered by the Kenyan government are expected to pay more than $200,000 (Sh20 million) for a passport, or thrice the amount for citizenship, according to reports.

Wealthy Africans, Indians, Chinese, Arabs, and Europeans are said to be sure clients and immediate customers Kenya can tap on to sell these products. Potential foreign clients, reports Daily Nation, are already having residence permits in the country and have invested heavily in the economy, especially in real estate, manufacturing, education, and hospitality. 

It is hoped that the sale of citizenship and residency permits will help wean the government of addiction to loans and have the national debt significantly reduced or eliminated.

The move will have other catalytic effects in national development and beckons the prospects of moving the country from its current middle-income status to the upper-middle economy, reports Daily Nation.

Appropriate laws and policies are expected to be enacted as soon as possible to fast track the sale of Kenyan citizenship and related immigration documents. 

Kenya is a major international destination for many because of its hard-working and friendly people, rich diverse cultures, good weather, beach and wildlife tourism, snow-capped mountain and deserts to attract those willing to be part of it.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: November 21, 2019


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