Kenya’s economy returns to strong growth in 2018

A strong performance by the agricultural industry helped Kenya’s economy expand by 6.3% last year, according to latest figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

Adequate rainfall over the course of the wet season boosted the sector, a mainstay of the Kenyan economy, following a drought in 2017 which contributed to a sharp decline in overall economic growth to 4.9%.

Agriculture accounts for a third of Kenya’s annual economic output, and in 2018 the sector grew by 6.6%, compared with just 1.8% the previous year, said KNBS director general Zachary Mwangi.

Kenya is the fastest growing economy in East Africa, but its performance is often hampered by droughts and political uncertainty, which was the case in 2017 when a prolonged election period caused jitters.

The World Bank recently cut its 2019 economic growth forecast for Kenya to 5.7% from an earlier forecast of 5.8% due to a delayed onset of the main rain season.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta said earlier this month that the government expects the economy to grow by 6.3% in 2019.