NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s economic growth expanded by 4.9 percent
in 2017 compared to a revised growth of 5.9 percent: in 2016, a
senior government official said on Wednesday.
Henry Rotich, the
Cabinet Secretary in the National Treasury, told a media
briefing in Nairobi that the slowdown in the performance of the
economy was partly attributed to the uncertainty associated with
a prolonged electioneering period coupled with adverse affects
of weather conditions.
“However, over the
medium term, growth is projected to increase by more than seven
percent due to investments in strategic areas under “The Big
Four” plan, namely: increasing the share of manufacturing to the
Gross Domestic Product (GDP); ensuring all citizens enjoy food
security and improved nutrition by 2022; expanding universal
health coverage; and delivering at least five hundred thousand
affordable housing units,” Rotich said during the launch of the
2018 Economic Survey.
implementation of the Big Four agenda will support the business
environment, create jobs and ultimately promote broad-based
Rotich said the
agricultural sector continued to be the major contributor of
Kenya’s economic growth.
“The sector recorded
mixed performance in 2017 which led to a decelerated growth of
1.6 percent compared to 5.1 percent growth in 2016,” he added.
Rotich noted that
the reduced growth is mainly attributed to drought coupled with
pests such as the fall army worms and disease which led to the
overall decline in agriculture.
In order to achieve
food security and improved nutrition, the government has
identified three broad areas in 2018, namely: enhancing
large-scale production; boosting smallholder productivity; and
reducing the cost of food.
Rotich said the
national government also plans to collaborate with county
governments to ensure that each county has at least one value
addition processing plant.
“These measures are
anticipated to go a long way in scaling up the agriculture value
chain,” he added.
The CS observed that
the manufacturing sector which is also a key sector in the
economy experienced slow growth in 2017 having registered a 0.2
“The sector was
negatively affected by uncertainties relating to the 2017
general elections, rise in inflation, high production costs and
competition from imported goods,” he said.
According to Rotich,
the manufacturing sector is expected to benefit from the
government’s Big Four initiative which targets contribution of
the sector share to GDP at 15 percent by 2022.
“In order to realize
these objectives, the government will implement various
initiatives that include: cutting the cost of off-peak power to
heavy industry by half; reviewing work permit regime and
encouraging expatriates whose skills support manufacturing
sector,” he said.
Rotich added that
the government will also protect local manufacturers from
counterfeits goods; and create an additional 1,000 small and
medium size enterprises focused on manufacturing which will have
access to affordable capital, skills and markets in order to
realize these objectives.