Kenya GDP growth rebounds in third quarter of 2021 – finance minister

Motorist drives on the controlled section during the construction of the Nairobi Expressway in Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: A motorist drives on the controlled section during the construction of the Nairobi Expressway, undertaken by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, along Uhuru highway in Nairobi, Kenya August 5, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

December 31, 2021

By George Obulutsa

NAIROBI (Reuters) -Kenya’s economy rebounded in the third quarter of the year following the easing of measures aimed at curbing COVID-19’s spread, the finance minister and the statistics office said on Friday.

The economy grew 9.9% year-on-year during the quarter, compared with a contraction of 2.1% in the same period in 2020, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) said.

In 2020 the economy was hammered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which slashed tourist flows into the country.

“Economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic continued in the third quarter of 2021 as a result of easing of containment measures,” Yatani said on his Twitter account.

“This follows an earlier impressive second quarter performance of 10.1% of real GDP growth.”

The statistics office said there was growth of 24.8% in the accommodation and food-serving activities sector, which also includes tourism. The sector had contracted by 63.4% in the third quarter of 2020.

“However, sector activities picked up in the review period after relaxation of most of the restriction measures in the fourth quarter of 2020,” KNBS said.

Other sectors whose performance improved was manufacturing, which expanded 9.5%.

However, agriculture, forestry and fishing contracted 1.8%, compared with 4.2% growth in the third quarter of 2020, the statistics office said.

“The dismal performance of the sector was evident in the significant decline in fruit exports, cane deliveries, tea production and coffee exports,” it said.

“In addition, unfavourable weather conditions experienced in most parts of the country impacted negatively on production of food crops during the review quarter.”

The finance ministry forecasts economic growth of 5.9% for 2021 as a whole, Yatani said in a Dec. 2 letter to the International Monetary Fund.

In late October, President Uhuru Kenyatta scrapped a night-time curfew that had been in place since March 2020, in a move that was expected to help reinvigorate the economy.

(Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)