Kenya government says 2020 economic growth to drop to 2.6 percent

Kenyan Coat of arms
Coat of arms

Kenya’s economic growth is expected to drop to 2.6 percent in 2020, down from the previous year’s 5.4 percent, mainly due to COVID-19, a senior government official said on Friday.

Ukur Yatani, cabinet secretary of National Treasury and Planning, said the economy remained resilient in the first quarter of 2020, rising 4.9 percent, compared to a growth of 5.5 percent in the same quarter in 2019.

“Prior to the outbreak, Kenya’s economy was strong and resilient despite the challenging global environment,” Yatani said during the virtual launch of the 2021/22 financial year and the medium-term budget preparation process.

According to the National Treasury, the east African nation’s economy is expected to expand by 5.3 percent in 2021 and 5.0 percent in 2022, an election year.

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause one of the greatest major economic shocks and underperformance of the country since independence, Yatani said.

“We will continuously monitor developments on the global front with a view to developing the Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery Strategy that focuses on making the economy more resilient so as to cushion vulnerable citizens and set the stage for sustainable growth,” he said.

Julius Muia, principal secretary of National Treasury, said the COVID-19 pandemic and the containment measures have not only disrupted livelihoods, but to a greater extent led to a reduction in government revenue.

Muia said the agricultural sector is expected to support growth in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the prevailing favorable weather conditions while the services sectors such as hospitality will be the hardest hit.

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