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Kenya at the turn of the century

24 May

Kenya entered the 21stCentury in the middle of what was arguably the worst economic crisis since the country gained independence in 1963.t With he GDP growth rate declining continuously from a peak of about 6.5%per year during the decade 1963 – 72, only about 1.5% per year during the 1990’s, Kenya’s economic and financial performance had really deteriorated .

The growth rate was about 1.1% in 2002 and inflation increased in 1999 mainly owing to increases in fuel and food prices

The poor economic performance was due to several factors, including prolonged drought that lead to power rationing, inadequate infrastructure, and low agricultural productivity.

Poor governance and corruption have also had a negative impact on growth as it made it very expensive to do business in Kenya.

In the 1970s, the national poverty rate was 29%.  Poverty has grown considerably in subsequent decades.  A recent study shows that the level of absolute poverty has increased to about 57% in 2000.  Between 1996 and 1999, the number of people living below the poverty line increased from about 11.5 million to about 15 million.  The two problems now facing the Kenyan economy are poverty and a high level of unemployment.  HIV/Aids, which now takes 710 lives per day, has further undermined productivity.  HIV/Aids have very far-reaching repercussions for the economy since it affects the most productive age groups, especially 15 to 49 year olds.  AIDS has also put great pressure on the government and the society at large in terms of caring for the sick, reduced productivity on the job, and the burden of caring for orphans.


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