Kenya’s economy slows to 5.4 pct in 2019

Source Xinhua

Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) decreased to 5.4 percent in 2019 compared to 6.3 percent in 2018, according to an economic survey published in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The annual survey published by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) says the growth was widespread across all sectors of the economy but was more pronounced in service-oriented sectors.

“Agriculture, forestry and fishing sector accounted for a sizeable proportion of the slowdown, from 6.0 percent growth in 2018 to 3.6 percent in 2019,” says the survey.

Ukur Yatani, cabinet secretary, the National Treasury and Planning who launched the survey said that the performance of Kenya’s economy like most economies all over the world in 2020, will largely be determined by how long lives and economic activities are going to be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Yatani observed that most of the economic activities have so far been slowed down by restrictions resulting from containment and cessation of sections of the population, the nationwide curfew and stoppage of international passenger travel.

He revealed that in the short term, the government’s fiscal policies in national budget are likely to focus on re-orientation of expenditure to initiatives aimed at control and eventual elimination of the COVID-19 in the country.

“Overall, factors against accelerated growth are likely to outweigh pro-growth aspects by far in 2020,” he said.

According to the Economic Survey 2020, the decelerated growth in 2019 especially in the agricultural sector was occasioned by the extreme weather phenomenon characterized by drought during the first half of last year, followed by high rainfall in the second half of the year that culminated in reduced production of selected crops.

“The sector however benefited from modest increase in production of potatoes, rice, and wheat, as well as significant improved production of drought resistant crops such as sorghum and millet in 2019,” says the report.

The findings show that the manufacturing sector slowed down to 3.2 percent in 2019 compared to a growth of 4.3 percent in 2018.

“The growth was attributed to an increase in production of motor vehicles, trailers, plastics, animal and vegetables fats and oils and pharmaceutical products. Subsectors such as production of wood and products of wood, sugar, electrical equipment and other non-metallic mineral products registered declines during the period under review,” says the review.

The analysis shows that the environment and natural resources sector’s share to the country’s GDP in 2019 remained at 3.2 per cent.