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NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Julius Muia (L), Principal Secretary, State Department for Planning Treasury and Ministry of Planning, Henry Rotich (2nd L), Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury and Ministry of Planning, Nelson Gaichuhie (2nd R), Chief Administrative Secretary, National Treasury and Zachary Mwangi, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Director General display copies of the 2018 Kenya Economic Survey in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, April 25, 2018. Kenya’s economy expanded by 4.9% in 2017 compared to a revised growth of 5.9% in 2016. The slowdown in the performance of the economy was partly attributed to uncertainty associated with a prolonged electioneering period coupled with effects of adverse weather conditions. XINHUA PHOTO: CHARLES ONYANGO

Kenya economic growth slows to 4.9 per cent in 2017

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.

He said implementation of the Big Four agenda will support the business environment, create jobs and ultimately promote broad-based inclusive growth.

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 percent expansion.

“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.



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