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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

A robust Kenyan economy expanding by 6.3 per cent in 2018

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.3 percent in 2018, compared to a 4.9 percent growth in 2017, a senior government official said on Thursday.

Henry Rotich, cabinet secretary in the National Treasury, told journalists in Nairobi that the growth was driven by expansion of the agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors.

"In 2018, the agricultural sector excluding the fisheries and forestry subsectors grew by 6.6 percent, up from 1.8 percent the previous year largely to favorable weather conditions," Rotich said during the release of the annual publication Economic Survey 2019 compiled by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

According to the Economic Survey 2019, most of the key agricultural products experienced expanded production including tea, sugar and wheat whose production rose by 12.1 percent, 10.7 percent and 103.8 percent respectively in 2018.

According to the study, the manufacturing sector’s growth stood at 4.2 percent in 2018 from a rise of 0.5 percent in 2017 on account of increase in production of dairy products, tea, coffee and sugar due to favorable weather conditions.

The findings also show that during the period under review, installed electricity generation capacity grew from 2,340 MW in 2017 to 2,711 MW in 2018 due to the injection of wind and solar power plants into the national grid.

The review also indicated that titanium ore production went up by 7.1 percent to 597,736 tons in 2018 and while soda ash output hit 339,025 tons in 2018, translating to a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
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Kenya pledges adoption of new technologies to boost tourism revenues

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will scale up adoption of emerging technologies like block chains, artificial intelligence, big data and drones to boost competitiveness of the tourism sector, officials said on Thursday.

Jonah Orumoi, managing director of Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), said the government will create a conducive policy and regulatory environment to facilitate uptake of disruptive technologies in travel and hospitality industries.

"The tourism sector is very critical to this country’s economy and we have intensified efforts to leverage on emerging technologies to ensure it is more competitive, profitable and resilient," said Orumoi.

He spoke during the Africa Tourism Technology and Innovation Forum held in Nairobi that was attended by policymakers, investors, scholars and innovators.

Kenya hosted the first ever tourism and technology innovation forum in the eastern African region amid efforts to revolutionize a sector that contributes an estimated 15 percent to the country’s GDP.

Orumoi said that adoption of disruptive technologies is key to revitalize growth of the travel and hospitality sectors amid fierce competition from other destinations in sub-Saharan Africa.

"By harnessing cutting edge technologies, we will be able to market our destinations to a larger clientele base and enhance bookings," said Orumoi.

"The use of big data in particular will help players in the tourism industry understand changing consumer preferences," said Orumoi.

He said the government has partnered with investors and innovators to develop technological solutions that can market unexplored scenic attractions like archaeological sites.

Fred Kaigua, chief executive officer of Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), said investors are keen to tap into new technologies and innovations to boost their revenue streams.

"The tourism sector players are keen to harness opportunities provided by the expanding digital footprint in the country to attract millennial clients who have disposable income," said Kaigua.
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Expert decries declining intra-East African trade

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- An expert on Friday decried the declining intra-East African Community (EAC) trade.

Anthony Mveyange, director of research at TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) told Xinhua in Nairobi that cross border trade has been reducing despite the liberalization of trade among member states.

"We are working closely with member states of the EAC to ensure the trend of declining intra-regional trade is reserved," Mveyange said during a forum on the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The EAC consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Mveyange said that Kenya was traditionally the source of manufactured goods in the region but other member states have now developed their own industrial bases.

He revealed that the economic bloc has put in place a common external tariff that seeks to promote trade amongst the member states.

He observed that while intra-EAC trade is declining, imports and exports from the region to the rest of the world are increasing.

Mveyange said that one of the ways to boost cross border trade is through value addition of commodities produced locally, noting that trade in services such as tourism could help to spur more intra-EAC trade.

He observed that political will from national governments will be required to ensure intra-regional trade is expanding.

             

 

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