, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 29 – A decline in the tourism sector as well as decelerated growth rate of the agricultural sector slowed down Kenya’s economic growth in 2014 to 5.3 percent compared to 5.7 percent in 2013.
Tourism earnings declined by 7.3 percent to Sh87 billion in 2014 from Sh94 billion recorded in 2013 owing to adverse travel advisories and fears of Ebola spread from West African countries.
International arrivals declined by 11.1 percent to 1.35 million in 2014 compared to 1.5 million visitors in 2013 while number of bed nights occupied in hotels also decreased by 4.8 percent from 6.6 million in 2013 to 6.3 million in 2014.
Average length of stay for tourists also dropped to 12.3 days in the year under review from the 13.2 days in 2013.
The agricultural sector also recorded slower growth, which affected the overall economy.
“The decelerated growth was attributable to erratic rains with some regions experiencing depressed rainfall. Lower levels of rainfall resulted in decreased production for some crops as well as pasture availability for livestock, “said Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru during the economic survey launch.
Maize production declined by 4.2 percent to 39 million bags in 2014 while wheat production decreased from 4.6 million bags in 2013 to 3.2 million bags in 2014.
In contrast, coffee production increased from 39.800 tonnes in 2013 to 49.500 tonnes in 2014 while tea production increased from 432,400 tonnes in 2013 to 445,100 tonnes in 2014.
“The country has experienced depressed rainfall during the first quarter of 2015 while weather forecasts points to a possibility of insufficient long rains in parts of the country. Performance of the agricultural sector is therefore likely to remain close to the 2014 levels, “Waiguru projected.
The manufacturing sector output expanded at a slower growth at 3.4 percent compared to 5.6 percent in 2013.
The building and construction sector recorded an accelerated rate of 13.1 percent in the period under review compared to 5.8 percent growth in 2013 with cement consumption rising to by 21.8 percent to 5.1 million tonnes.
The performance of the transport sector continued to improve with total output value expanding by 13 percent as cargo traffic transported via rail increased by 24.3 percent to 1.5 million tonnes while port of Mombasa recorded a 11.5 percent increase of total cargo throughput to stand at 24.8 million tonnes in 2014.
Also, registration of new motor vehicles went up by 9.1 percent to 102.606 units in 2014.
Performance of the labour market remained modest with about 799,700 new jobs created in the period under review with the informal sector employing 693,400 people.
The public sector created about 17,500 jobs while private sector employed 69,600 people.
Going forward inflation is projected to ease in 2015 supported by lower prices of oil and electricity with other macroeconomic indicators remaining stable and supportive of growth in 2015.