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Kenyan Shilling Reacts to Political Climate

Kenya has experienced an overall economic slump since presidential candidate Raila Odinga filed a court petition disputing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Aug. 15 announcement of William Ruto as the president-elect. But hours after Kenya’s supreme court upheld William Ruto’s presidential win, the financial markets are showing signs of recovery. The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) gained $357 million—the highest in three weeks. Market capitalization rose to $18.2 billion while equity turnover jumped by 70% to $3.7 million. But there will be no honeymoon phase for Ruto as he inherits a troubled economy. Citizens continue to suffer through economic turmoil that has seen the loss of livelihoods. Investors are keen to witness the fulfillment of Ruto’s promise to fight corruption and repay the huge public debt which has seen treasury raise taxes and introduce new levies—an IMF recommendation. The technology sector is also looking to see how Ruto will fulfill campaign promises of making Kenya a tech powerhouse, and converting east Africa’s biggest economy from agriculture-based to tech-based.