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Kenya to publish re-based Gross Domestic Product figures on Tuesday

By Okoth | September 30th 2014
Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru when she appeared before Parliamentary Finance Committee over Uwezo Fund at Parliament building

All eyes will be on Kenya as it releases new Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures that have been undergoing review for several months now.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has completed the process of re-basing the country’s National Accounts statistics. The launch of the re-based GDP will be held at the KICC with Cabinet Secretary for Devolution, Anne Waiguru, as the chief guest. Others in attendance will be KNBS Acting Director General Zachary Mwangi, representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, KNBS Board chairman Prof Terry Ryan as well as principal secretaries.

Kenya’s economy grew by 4.7 per cent in 2013, up from 4.6 per cent the previous year, a pace slower than that of neighbouring Uganda at 5.6 per cent; Tanzania at seven per cent and Rwanda at 7.5 per cent.

The role of manufacturing, telecoms and services has gained more prominence under the re-basing system in which the mining sector makes a grand entry.

Currently, the KNBS data is hinged on figures from 2001, which will now be re-based to a new reference point of 2009 to present an accurate reflection of Kenya’s economy.

“What we are doing now is accounting for the fact that, since then, there are certain industries that have grown – such as mobile telecommunications – and certain structures of the economy have changed,” said Kwame Owino, Chief Executive of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).

Opinion is still divided among economists on whether the GDP figures will expand or shrink when the new calculations are launched.

“I don’t believe there is any economy in the world which can grow at this pace. The fact of the matter is that our economy is not growing! That is just the politics of statistics,” said Dr Thomas Kibua, a former Central Bank Deputy Governor.

“Whatever way you look at the figures, I don’t think the economy can grow by more than five per cent.”

The World Bank earlier this year warned that Kenya will have to overcome infrastructure and governance deficits as well as improve the quality of basic services in order for its economy to achieve double digit growth and a take-off to middle income status by 2017.

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