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Positive outlook for Kenyan Economy

19 Mar

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for Kenya to 6% this year, sharply up from its previous projection of 4.7%. Investors have been skittish about Nigerian assets as plunging oil prices pummel the West African nation’s economy are casting their eyes across the continent to Kenya. This comes on the back of China declaring Kenya as the preferred investment destination in the region, saying the country has reformed its business environment and offers better incentives compared to its neighbours. China’s Director-General of African Affairs Lin Songtian said investors from his country were interested in setting up industrial parks in Mombasa and establishing manufacturing zones along the standard gauge railway corridor.

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for Kenya on March 5, saying oil prices that have tumbled 48 percent since June would boost the economy of the nation, a net importer of crude. By contrast, Nigeria is set to slow, the International Monetary Fund said the same day. The continent’s biggest oil producer is struggling with falling export revenue and a loss of investor confidence after it postponed elections amid the insurgency by the Islamist group Boko Haram in the country’s northeast. This has seen investors sell off Nigerian bonds and acquire Kenyan debts. This trend is set to continue as Kenya’s revenue base is more diverse and oil prices are lower. The Chinese are confident in the strides the country has put in the legal mechanisms, one-stop-shop and incentives framework that will attract and retain Chinese investors as a strategic conduit to the African market and larger Chinese market. Such confidence emanates from basic facts about the country. Kenya, with 41 million people and a gross domestic product of $55 billion, is the biggest economy in East Africa, with tea, coffee and tourism among its main sources of foreign exchange. Investments in infrastructure, agriculture and manufacturing are creating more jobs and should increase growth to 7% by 2017 according to the World Bank


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