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Kenya is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Dominic Omondi | June 6th 2020

Kenya overtook recession-hit Angola to become the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show.

Estimates from the global lender show that Kenya is most likely to stretch this lead, with Covid-19 devastating a lot of economies around the world.

Kenya, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Sh9.74 trillion, is far behind the second largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa.

IMF estimates South Africa’s GDP to stand at Sh36 trillion in 2019, while Africa's biggest economy - Nigeria - has a GDP of Sh44.6 trillion.

With Covid-19 pandemic hitting all economies, the sub-Saharan economy will for the first time sink into a recession, IMF said.

South Africa and Nigeria are expected to register a negative growth of 3.4 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively. Angola will also plunge into a recession with its GDP shrinking by 1.4 per cent.

Kenya however drops to position six when you include all African countries. Egypt, Algeria and Morocco come between Kenya and South Africa at positions three, four and five respectively.

Kenya in 2017 overtook Ethiopia to become the biggest economy in the Eastern Africa region, according to the data. Ethiopia's GDP stands at Sh9.1 billion as of 2019. Kenya’s economy is the biggest in East and Central Africa.

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Increased investments in infrastructure, coupled with a strong macro-economic environment, seems to have helped Kenya beat Ethiopia which is in a political quagmire as it edges closer to elections this year.

Moreover, IMF expects Kenya to remain at the pole position in Eastern Africa for the next four years, with the country’s GDP projected to hit Sh15.8 trillion by 2024.

Tanzania has a GDP of Sh6.2 trillion while Uganda's GDP is estimated at Sh3.66 trillion.

Rwanda, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, has a GDP of Sh1 trillion, which is just about the size of Nakuru’s economy, according to a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

The GDP for Burundi and South Sudan is Sh357 billion and Sh368 billion respectively as of 2019, IMF data show.

Last month, KNBS released its annual survey which showed that the size of Kenya’s economy expanded by 5.4 per cent.

Last year’s growth was slower than the 6.3 per cent registered in 2018. With the virus here however, things appear gloomy economically. “Most of the economic activities have so far been slowed down by restrictions such as the nationwide curfew,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said.

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