Kenya's economy to grow at faster pace this year and next: Central bank
Kenya's economy is expected to rebound more strongly this year and next than initially thought, boosted by faster growth in sectors like transport and manufacturing, the head of the central bank said on Tuesday.
The economy, which is East Africa's biggest, is expected to grow by 6.4% in 2021 and 6.0% next year, Patrick Njoroge told a news conference. The forecasts are higher than the 6.1% growth for this year and 5.6% in 2022, given by the bank in September.
"Recovery has accelerated," Njoroge said, cautioning that the latest forecasts have not taken into account the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Like other economies around the world, Kenya was hit by the coronavirus-induced crisis, as restrictions imposed to fight off the pandemic reduced revenues and stifled growth.
Kenya’s Finance Ministry expects the economy to expand at least 6% in 2021, compared with the African Development Bank’s projection of 6.3% and the International Monetary Fund’s growth estimate of 5.6%, down from 7.6% forecast in April.
Recovery has started this year, but the pace could be curbed by a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines and waves of infections driven by the emergence of new variants.
The projected faster growth will also be underpinned by a recovery in the key tourism sector, which was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic last year.
Cash sent home by Kenyans living abroad, a leading source of foreign exchange, was set for another record year.
Agriculture is the biggest economic sector in Kenya, the world’s top exporter of black tea and the largest supplier of cut flowers in Europe.
Kenya’s economy grew at the fastest pace in at least two decades in the second quarter, as restrictions to contain the coronavirus pandemic were eased.
Gross domestic product expanded 10.1% from a year earlier, compared with 0.7% in the three months through March, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said last month.