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Kenya Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewKenya is the economic, financial, and transport hub of East Africa. Kenya’s real GDP growth has averaged over 5% for the last eight years. Since 2014, Kenya has been ranked as a lower middle income country because its per capita GDP crossed a World Bank threshold. While Kenya has a growing entrepreneurial middle class and steady growth, its economic and development trajectory could be impaired by weak governance and corruption. Although reliable numbers are hard to find, unemployment and under-employment are extremely high, and could be near 40% of the population.

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy, contributing one-third of GDP. About 75% of Kenya’s population of roughly 44.2 million work at least part-time in the agricultural sector, including livestock and pastoral activities. Over 75% of agricultural output is from small-scale, rain-fed farming or livestock production.

Inadequate infrastructure continues to hamper Kenya’s efforts to improve its annual growth to the 8%-10% range so that it can meaningfully address poverty and unemployment. The KENYATTA administration has been successful in courting external investment for infrastructure development. International financial institutions and donors remain important to Kenya's economic growth and development, but Kenya has also successfully raised capital in the global bond market. Kenya issued its first sovereign bond offering in mid-2014. Nairobi has contracted with a Chinese company to construct a new standard gauge railway connecting Mombasa and Nairobi, with completion expected in June 2017. In 2013, the country adopted a devolved system of government with the creation of 47 counties, and is in the process of devolving state revenues and responsibilities to the counties. Inflationary pressures and sharp currency depreciation peaked in early 2012 but have since abated following low global food and fuel prices and monetary interventions by the Central Bank. Drought-like conditions in parts of the country have pushed 2017 inflation above 8%. Chronic budget deficits, including a shortage of funds in mid-2015, hampered the government’s ability to implement proposed development programs, but the economy is back in balance with many indicators, including foreign exchange reserves, interest rates, and FDI moving in the right direction. Underlying weaknesses were exposed in the banking sector in 2016 when the government was forced to take over three small and undercapitalized banks. In 2016, the government enacted legislation that limits interest rates banks can charge on loans and set a rate that banks must pay their depositors. This measure led to a sharp shrinkage of credit in the economy.

Tourism holds a significant place in Kenya’s economy. A spate of terrorist attacks by the Somalia-based group al-Shabaab reduced international tourism earning after their deadly 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall, which killed 67 people, but the sector is now recovering. In 2016, tourist arrivals grew by 17% while revenues from tourism increased by 37%.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$163.4 billion (2017 est.)
$155.6 billion (2016 est.)
$147 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$78.4 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate5% (2017 est.)
5.8% (2016 est.)
5.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,500 (2017 est.)
$3,400 (2016 est.)
$3,300 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving15.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
15.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
10.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 77%
government consumption: 13.7%
investment in fixed capital: 17.1%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 13.9%
imports of goods and services: -21.7% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 35%
industry: 17.6%
services: 47.7% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line43.4% (2012 est.)
Labor force19.82 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 61.1%
industry: 6.7%
services: 32.2% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate40% (2013 est.)
40% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 37.8% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index42.5 (2008 est.)
44.9 (1997)
Budgetrevenues: $15.37 billion
expenditures: $20.18 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues19.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-6.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt52.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
53.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)8% (2017 est.)
6.3% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate11.5% (20 January 2016)
7% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate14.3% (31 December 2017 est.)
16.58% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$13.03 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$12.77 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$29.29 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$22.86 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$36.59 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$29.88 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$26.16 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$22.09 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$14.79 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Agriculture - productstea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, fish, pork, poultry, eggs
Industriessmall-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, clothing, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products, horticulture, oil refining; aluminum, steel, lead; cement, commercial ship repair, tourism
Industrial production growth rate7% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$4.75 billion (2017 est.)
-$3.653 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$6.397 billion (2017 est.)
$5.747 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiestea, horticultural products, coffee, petroleum products, fish, cement
Exports - partnersUganda 10.1%, Tanzania 8.6%, US 7.7%, Netherlands 7.4%, UK 7.3%, UAE 4.6%, Pakistan 4.5% (2016)
Imports$14.52 billion (2017 est.)
$13.64 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transportation equipment, petroleum products, motor vehicles, iron and steel, resins and plastics
Imports - partnersChina 24.1%, India 11.2%, UAE 7.7%, Japan 5.4% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.592 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.601 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$24.99 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$22.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$6.196 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$5.317 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA (31 December 2017 est.)
$NA (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesKenyan shillings (KES) per US dollar -
104 (2017 est.)
101.504 (2016 est.)
101.504 (2015 est.)
98.179 (2014 est.)
87.921 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year1 July - 30 June

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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