NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Kenya’s economy expanded slightly in 2015 by 5.6 percent compared to 5.3 percent growth in 2014 but was lower than the 2013 growth of 5.7 percent.
According to the Economic Survey 2016 released on Tuesday, the number of new jobs generated in the economy last year stood at 841,600 compared to 799,700 in the previous year.
Agriculture, construction, real estate, financial and insurance were the major drivers of the economy in the period under review.
“Agriculture gross value improved to 6.2 percent in the period under review from 3.5 percent in 2014 due to good weather and abundant rainfall that led to improved crop and livestock production. Maize production went up by 9 percent to 42.5 million bags while sugarcane production increased by 4.6 percent to hit 6.8 million tonnes,” said Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Director General Zachary Mwangi.
However, tea and coffee production went down by 10.3 percent and 16 percent respectively negatively affecting their earnings.
In manufacturing, the sector grew by 3.5 percent in 2015 up from 3.2 percent recorded in 2014 on the back of reduced production costs due to lower cost of petroleum products and electricity, while construction went up by 13.6 in the period under review up from the 11.4 percent in 2014 owing to the ongoing construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and road works by both the National and County Governments.
Growth in mining, ICT as well as wholesale and retail trade decelerated during the period.
Tourism is showing an improvement as accommodation and food services went down by only 1.3 percent compared to previous year decline of 13.6 percent.
“However, international arrivals went down by 12.6 percent from 1.35 million arrivals in 2014 to 1.18 million in 2015. Earnings went down by 2.9 percent to Sh84.6 billion from Sh87.1 billion in 2014 this is attributable to travel advisories from key tourism markets for the country due to security concerns,” Mwangi pointed out.
Bed nights also went down by 6.4 percent however number of visitors to museums snake parks and other historical sites went up by 15.6 percent.
Transport sector output went up by 6.4 percent to Sh951.4 billion owing to improvement at the Port of Mombasa as well as the railway transport sub sector.
Kenya’s trade deficit improved to Sh997 billion compared to Sh1.08 trillion.
Imports went down by 2.5 percent to Sh1.5 trillion while exports rose by 8.2 percent to Sh581 billion as Africa remains the leading destination for all exports accounting for 41.7 percent of total exports.
“Uganda continued to be the leading export destination for Kenya with the exports to her growing by 12.8 percent worth Sh69 billion in the period under review. Asia continued to rule the imports to Kenya, with imports worth Sh982 billion in 2015,” Mwangi explained.