Drought slows Kenya’s economic growth

July 1, 2017
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The manufacturing sector expanded by 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 1.7 per cent growth in the corresponding period of 2016/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Drought and a slowdown in credit growth resulted in slower growth of Kenya’s economy in the first quarter of 2017 according to new numbers from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Kenya’s economy expanded by 4.7 per cent, the slowest growth since the third quarter of 2014.

The slowdown is due to a contraction in Agricultural activities as well as a deceleration in growth of financial intermediation and electricity supply.

Agriculture recorded the first negative growth of 1.1 percent since 2009 which was attributable to unfavourable weather conditions during the last quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.

Tea production declined significantly by 35.5 per cent to 90.1 thousand Metric Tonnes in the first quarter of 2017 from 139.6 thousand Metric Tonnes in the corresponding quarter of 2016.

The value of horticultural exports also declined marginally from Sh30.5 billion in the first quarter of 2016 to Sh29.7 billion in the quarter under review.

Tourism was the best performer during the period, registering a growth of 15.8 per cent from 10.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2016.

Tourist arrivals increased from 317,024 in the first three months of 2016 to 326,875 in the quarter under review while hotel bed occupancy grew from 1,937,007 in the first quarter of 2016 to 2,115,732 beds in the quarter under review.

Other major sectors whose performance improved significantly include: Wholesale and Retail trade, Real Estate, Transport and Storage and Information and Communication.

“Electricity supply was also adversely impacted on by the shortage of rains resulting to slowed growth during the quarter under review. Finance and insurance sectors’ growth slowed primarily on account of commercial banks’ reduced lending to the private sector,” the report states.

The manufacturing sector expanded by 2.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 1.7 per cent growth in the corresponding period of 2016.

Completion of the first phase of the Standard Gauge Railway saw a slowed growth in the construction sector that expanded by 8.4 per cent compared to 10.2 percent in a similar quarter in 2016.

At the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), the 20-Share index peaked at 3,112 points in the month of March. This was a drop compared to 3,982 points in the same quarter in 2016.

The value of shares traded dropped to Sh12.4 billion in March from Sh13.4 billion in the same month of 2016.

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