Effects of prolonged electioneering period hit Kenya

Monday December 4 2017

Tourists at Travellers Beach Hotel in Mombasa,

Tourists at Travellers Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. The number of tourist arrivals dropped to 89,782 in August from 105,241 in July 2017. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

By GEORGE KAMAU
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Cement consumption in Kenya hit a 30-month low in August underlining the economic slowdown in the run-up to the general election and subsequent extended electioneering.

The country consumed 419,886 tonnes of cement, 25.7 per cent lower than the consumption in the month of July and a level last seen in February 2015.

According to recently released National Bureau of Statistics economic figures, exports dropped to a two-year low of Ksh41.6 billion ($416 million), capturing the heavy economic cost to the economy caused by turbulent electioneering.

The number of tourist arrivals dropped to 89,782 in August from 105,241 in July; mobile money transactions also dropped, while new car registrations dropped to 5,162 in August from 6,828 a month earlier.

Political jitters among investors forced the government to lower its growth projections to 5.1 per cent from the previous 5.7 per cent. This is however in contrast with projections of independent analysts, who have predicted growth of below five per cent.

Economists at Stanbic Bank and Citi Research have downgraded Kenya’s growth projection to below five per cent with Stanbic giving 4.8 per cent, down from 5.8 per cent.

Stanbic attributed the downgrade to a slowdown in public investment in infrastructure development and a drop in private sector activity for the fourth straight month in August.

The Central Bank of Kenya has maintained growth will be above five per cent on the grounds that the amounts spent on the general election and the repeat presidential election served as economic stimulus packages with most of the cash paid out as wages for contracted officers and service providers.

“How we are still growing at a respectable rate even as we have headwinds coming our way is because of medium and small enterprises which seem to be the ones that have been quite dynamic,” said CBK governor Patrick Njoroge.

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