Kenya’s economy grew by 4.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2017, the slowest quarterly growth in five years, as prolonged electoral politics and drought took its toll on key segments of the economy.
The July-September performance falls far lower than an impressive 5.6 per cent growth recorded in a similar period in 2016, data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.
“The macroeconomic fundamentals remained largely stable and supportive of grow but uncertainty associated with political environment coupled with effects of adverse weather conditions slowed down the performance of the economy,” KNBS said in a statement Friday.
Kenya had its general election on August 8 and a re-run - boycotted by the main opposition party - on October 26.
The only other low quarterly growth the economy has recorded in recent times was 3.5 per cent between October and December 2013, a period which also coincided with a General Election.
Slow sector activity
For the third quarter of 2017, most sectors – agriculture, manufacturing, health, accommodation, mining and education - posted slower growth compared to the same quarter last year.
Financial and insurance activities, for instance, recorded the largest drop from 7.1 per cent in third quarter of 2016 to 2.4 per cent this year while accommodation and food service reduced considerably from 13.5 per cent to 7.3 per cent over the period.
Similarly, agriculture which accounts to a quarter of the national GDP, recorded a slower July-September growth of 3.1 per cent compared to 3.8 in the same period last year while manufacturing slowed over the period from 4.4 per cent to 2.1 per cent.
According to the KNBS data, only professional services, public administration and real estate sectors defied the electoral uncertainly to post enhanced growth.
The Information and Communication sector, for instance, grew at nine per cent in the third quarter compared to 8.8 per cent in 2016 while real estate growth by 8.9 per cent, up from 8.5 per cent last year.