The World Bank has waded into the murky debate of the alleged sugar importation deal that President Uhuru Kenyatta signed with his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni, which has put the Opposition and the ruling Government on a collision path.
The World Bank, through its study on Kenya’s sugar and maize markets, trashed former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s opposition to the sugar deal with Uganda saying Uhuru’s deal is good for the country.
According to the World Bank, Kenya is better off importing cheap sugar from Uganda than maintaining the current inefficient production system.
In a study funded by the World Bank, the financial and economic institution noted that if Kenya is to import cheap sugar from Uganda as per President Kenyatta’s deal, it would lift some 40, 000 families from absolute poverty because it would reduce their spending.
“We estimate that just over 40, 000 families would cross the poverty line as a consequence of a 20% price decrease in sugar – approximately a 1.5% decrease in poverty for Kenya overall,” said Jonathan Argent and Tania Begazo, the authors of the World Bank study.
Whilst the Opposition led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga maintains that the deal is sour for Kenya, especially for poor sugarcane farmers in Western and Nyanza regions and the local sugar millers, the Jubilee Government has maintained that the importation of cheap sugar from Uganda was the way to go and now it has the support of the World Bank.