Agriculture spurs Kenya's GDP growth to 6.3pc in 2018: Economic Survey

Thursday April 25 2019

tea farm, agriculture

A tea farm in Nyeri County in central Kenya. The country's economy grew by 6.3 percent in 2018 helped by an impressive growth in agriculture. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

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Kenya's economy grew by 6.3 per cent in 2018, helped by an impressive growth in agriculture, manufacturing and transport sectors.

This was an rebound from the 4.7 per cent growth in 2017, the slowest growth in five years—amid effects of an adverse weather and political jitters in the election year.

The agriculture sector grew by 6.6 percent, the highest in five years, data from the Economic Survey 2019 released on Thursday shows.

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

Transport and storage services sector also grew to a five-year high of 8.8 per cent.

Manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate of 4.2 per cent in 2018, compared with 0.5 per cent in 2017.


Slower pace

However, the construction sector grew at a slower pace of 6.6 percent compared with 8.5 percent in 2017.

The economic survey data shows that the country's financial sector grew at 5.6 percent in 2018 compared with 2.8 percent the previous year.

Kenya, region’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 percent due to a delayed onset of the main rain season.

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