Kenya's economic growth slowed to 4.8 per cent in 2022, survey shows

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director-General Macdonald Obudho. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kenya’s economy experienced a slower growth rate of  4.8 per cent in 2022 compared to 7.6 per cent the previous year, according to the latest survey.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) 2023 Economic Survey released on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in Nairobi, attributed the sluggish growth of the economy to several factors, chief among them the Covid-19 pandemic and a prolonged drought that impacted most parts of the country.

"Most of the growth we had in 2021 was coming from negative numbers because of the impact of Covid-19 in 2019, and so it was easy for most organizations to pick up," said KNBS director-general Macdonald Obudho.

Despite the downturn, the report revealed that the number of employed Kenyans increased to 19.1 million in 2022 from 18.33 million in 2021, with the informal sector still holding the lead in job creation.

At the same time, the report shows the population of all counties is expected to increase between 2020 and 2045.

It shows Samburu County is expected to record the biggest population increase, at 84 per cent, followed by Tana River at 81 per cent, Narok  (79 per cent), Lamu (77 per cent), Wajir (75 per cent), and Turkana (75 per cent).

On the other hand, Nyamira County is projected to have the lowest population increase, at only 12 per cent. Other counties are Vihiga (17 per cent), Kisii (18 per cent), Kirinyaga (19 per cent) and Machakos (20 per cent). These counties are considered net losers in terms of migrants, which may explain why the projected population growth is lower.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u, who was present at the launch of the economic survey, noted that out of the 19.1 million employed Kenyans, 16 million (85 per cent) worked in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in 2022.

 "I note that a total of 816.6 thousand new jobs were generated despite the slowdown in the economy in 2022," Prof Ndung'u said.

The sectors that massively contributed to the creation of employment were education (19.9 thousand), Manufacturing (15.8 thousand), Health (9.3 thousand), wholesale and retail trade (9.1 thousand), ICT (8.5 thousand), and Transport (5.3 thousand).

The report also noted an increase in crime rates. There are also over 664,000 pending cases in court, according to the survey.

According to the report, the agricultural sector has shown growth, while the tourism industry is beginning to recover, especially from the effects of Covid-19, due to an increase in local tourism.

In the hospitality industry, the study shows, Kenyans have occupied more than half of bed occupancy, at 59.9 per cent.

"Effectively, the MSME economy is one of the major sources of employment creation and income generation for the bulk of the Kenyans," said Ndung’u.

The report also indicated that most of Kenya's energy (85 per cent) came from renewable sources, highlighting the country's commitment to sustainable energy practices.

Ndung’u said the government will continue to use data from KNBS to foster evidence-based planning and policymaking.

"The data helps us to appreciate the results that reflect the quality of policy that is implemented using that data and also defines the future direction of reforms that can be used to decide policy in the future," he said.

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