, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – The new government has been challenged to come up with numerous strategies to increase the country’s export competitiveness.
Outgoing World Bank’s Lead Economist Wolfgang Fengler says there is need to push growth of many sectors that will see Kenya export more than it imports goods and services.
He says Kenya has for a long time depended on agriculture despite other sectors showing high growth potential.
Huge number of imports, he says, make the country vulnerable to international economic shocks hence high inflation now and then.
“Kenya’s top exports are tea, tourism and horticulture. But Kenya cannot grow on these alone. We need something else like ICT, manufacturing and other sectors hence have more inflows,” Fengler pointed out.
He says it is sad that Kenya’s import is thrice its annual total export something he says has led to the continued high cost of key commodities.
“Manufacturing stagnated a long time ago in Kenya, though it has been the driving force of other successful emerging economies. If more effort is put on this sector, it could earn the country billions of shillings,” he said.
“Encouraging exports means that more Kenyans will be involved in economic activities to meet the demand out there,” he added.
Fengler was speaking during the launch of his book dubbed “Realizing the Kenyan Dream” in Nairobi on Monday.
Touching on previous challenges and mistakes, the book elaborates some of the key areas where Kenya can explore and move forward starting with the year 2013.
Kenya stands to grow further, he reckons, and it is unlikely that it will regress to the poor performance of the 1980s and 1990s.
“There are three main reasons why Kenya’s economic performance should be stronger. These include the strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Consumption will continue to drive economic activity and Kenya stands to benefit from Africa’s growth momentum,” Fengler highlights in his book.