Farms spur Kenya growth rebound in 2018 - statistics office

In Summary

•Agriculture accounts for close to a third of Kenya’s annual economic output

•Missed revenue targets, rising public debt and uncontrolled expenditure have also emerged as concerns for investors in recent years

A farm in Siaya
A farm in Siaya
Image: FILE

Kenya’s economy expanded by 6.3 per cent last year, the statistics office said on Thursday, helped by adequate rainfall which spurred agriculture, a mainstay of the economy.

The economy had slowed sharply to 4.9 per cent in 2017 due to a drought and jitters over a prolonged election.

Last year’s recovery in growth was driven by agriculture, excluding fisheries and forestry, which expanded by 6.6 per cent, up from 1.8 per cent in 2017, said Zachary Mwangi, director general of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Agriculture accounts for close to a third of Kenya’s annual economic output.

Kenya, East Africa’s richest economy, is one of the fastest growing areas on the continent but its performance is often hit by drought. Violence after a December 2007 presidential election and disputes over the following two polls led some investors to scale back investment, hurting growth.

Missed revenue targets, rising public debt and uncontrolled expenditure have also emerged as concerns for investors in recent years.

The World Bank trimmed its 2019 economic growth forecast for Kenya to 5.7 percent from an earlier forecast of 5.8 per cent due to a delayed onset of the main rain season.

The government expects the economy to grow by 6.3 per cent in 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta said earlier this month.