Kenya Economy

Is Kenya a rich country?

Kenya is the economic, financial, and transport hub of East Africa. Kenya’s real GDP growth has averaged over 5% for the last decade. 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 development has been 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. 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.

Agriculture remains the backbone of the Kenyan economy, contributing one-third of GDP. About 75% of Kenya’s population of roughly 48.5 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. Tourism also holds a significant place in Kenya’s economy. In spite of political turmoil throughout the second half of 2017, tourism was up 20%, showcasing the strength of this sector. Kenya has long been a target of terrorist activity and has struggled with instability along its northeastern borders. Some high visibility terrorist attacks during 2013-2015 (e.g., at Nairobi’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University) affected the tourism industry severely, but the sector rebounded strongly in 2016-2017 and appears poised to continue growing.

Inadequate infrastructure continues to hamper Kenya’s efforts to improve its annual growth 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 growth and development, but Kenya has also successfully raised capital in the global bond market issuing its first sovereign bond offering in mid-2014, with a second occurring in February 2018. The first phase of a Chinese-financed and constructed standard gauge railway connecting Mombasa and Nairobi opened in May 2017.

In 2016 the government was forced to take over three small and undercapitalized banks when underlying weaknesses were exposed. The government also 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. A prolonged election cycle in 2017 hurt the economy, drained government resources, and slowed GDP growth. Drought-like conditions in parts of the country pushed 2017 inflation above 8%, but the rate had fallen to 4.5% in February 2018.

The economy, however, is well placed to resume its decade-long 5%-6% growth rate. While fiscal deficits continue to pose risks in the medium term, other economic indicators, including foreign exchange reserves, interest rates, current account deficits, remittances and FDI are positive. The credit and drought-related impediments were temporary. Now In his second term, President KENYATTA has pledged to make economic growth and development a centerpiece of his second administration, focusing on his "Big Four" initiatives of universal healthcare, food security, affordable housing, and expansion of manufacturing.

Kenya Economy Data

What is the GDP of Kenya?

GDP - Gross Domestic Product (PPP) $133,000,000,000 (USD)
GDP - official exchange rate $63,120,000,000 (USD)
GDP - real growth rate 6.5%
GDP Per Capita $3,300.00 (USD)
GDP by Sector- agriculture 29.9%
GDP by Sector- Industry 19.5%
GDP by Sector- services 50.6%
GDP - composition, by end use household consumption: 78.7%

government consumption: 13.7%

investment in fixed capital: 23.6%

investment in inventories: -1%

exports of goods and services: 16.1%

imports of goods and services: -31.1%
Population Below Poverty Line 50%
Inflation Rate 4.2%
Labor Force 17,940,000
Labor Force By Occupation- agriculture 75%
Labor Force By Occupation- industry 25%
Unemployment Rate 40%
Fiscal Year 1 July - 30 June
Annual Budget $7,017,000,000 (USD)
Budget Surplus or Deficit - percent of GDP -4.1%
Public Debt (% of GDP) 67.4%
Taxes and other revenues - percent of GDP 17.4%
Major Industries small-scale consumer goods (plastic, furniture, batteries, textiles, soap, cigarettes, flour), agricultural products processing; oil refining, cement; tourism
Industrial Growth Rate 4%
Agriculture Products tea, coffee, corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruit, vegetables; dairy products, beef, pork, poultry, eggs
Currency Code Kenyan shilling (KES)
Child Labor - % of children ages 5-14 26%
Child Labor - # of children ages 5-14 2,146,058
Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate 17.1%

Labor Force by Occupation- As reported by Kenya

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