The 2019 Economic Survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) contained some disturbing facts. According to KNBS, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 6.3 per cent in 2018 compared to 4.9 per cent in 2017. This exponential economic growth was attributed to increased agricultural production, accelerated manufacturing activities, sustained growth in transport and a vibrant service sector.
The economy created 840,600 new jobs in 2018 with the informal sector accounting for 82.6 per cent of the total employment. While the Government wants to convince Kenyans the economy is not on the rocks, the truth is the trickle-down effect to microeconomics level is virtually non-existence.
Poverty, unemployment, starvation, high cost of living, housing crisis, hopelessness and poor health continue to characterise many households. Despite manufacturing sector increasing by 5.1 per cent and construction by 6.3 per cent, unemployment, underemployment and housing crisis continue to haunt many Kenyans.
Sadly, widespread redundancies and unprecedented unemployment means the economy is in limbo. Building skyscrapers does not translate to affordable housing. Worse, the Jubilee administration’s promise to create 1 million jobs annually remains an illusion. In a nutshell, the economic growth figures could be grossly exaggerated.
Few businesses are flourishing and there is a dangerous disproportion between growth and disposable income. The Government must end corruption, apply austerity measures and improve infrastructure to reinvigorate the economy. Otherwise the lackluster economic growth will be the order of the day.