Bloomberg ranks Kenya’s growth rate third globally


Kakamega Knut officials and tutors during the teachers’ strike early this year. Treasury says push for higher pay and insecurity may hurt growth. PHOTO | FILE

Kenya has been ranked third in a global survey of economies projected to register the fastest growth this year, placing the country ahead of other emerging markets in Africa.

According to a Bloomberg survey of 57 countries, Kenya’s projected six per cent growth rate this year would see it join China, India, Philippines and Indonesia as the only economies hitting a five per cent growth rate.

These countries together make up about 16 per cent of global gross domestic product. The survey ranked China and Philippines first and second respectively.

The Bloomberg survey is the latest to put Kenya’s projected growth at six per cent or better, showing increased confidence in the economy at a time the country is tackling problems in leading sectors such as tourism caused by insecurity.

“Kenya will probably grow six per cent in 2015, even as unemployment and poverty remain stubbornly high, with over 40 per cent of Kenyans living below the poverty line,” said Bloomberg.

“Emerging markets in Asia and Africa still reign supreme: They are at the top of global growth projections over the next two years.”

According to the survey, world economies are expected to grow on average by 3.2 per cent in 2015 and 3.7 per cent next year after expanding 3.3 per cent in each of the past two years.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is projected to expand 4.9 per cent this year, and is the only other African country in the top 20 of those surveyed for the Bloomberg report.

Other institutions projecting the Kenyan economy to grow at six per cent or better include Citi, the World Bank and the Treasury.

The 2015 outlook report by Citi and country rating by Fitch projected a six per cent growth for the economy, thanks to lower fuel costs, which are expected to result in falling general prices and dividend from investing in infrastructure projects.

READ: Kenya told to rein in debt as growth seen at 6pc this year

Economists and analysts at both firms, however, cautioned the government to reduce borrowing and keep a firm grip on spending.

The Treasury on its part has a higher projection, expecting the economy to expand by 6.9 per cent this year, up from an initial growth forecast of 6.5 per cent.

It did caution though that the push for higher wages and insecurity could curb the growth target.

According to analysts, Kenya has in the past struggled to attain its true growth potential of above six per cent due to a host of challenges, including political uncertainties, periodic droughts and frequent attacks blamed on terrorists.