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Services drive Kenya’s growth in past decade

Staff writer |
Since 2005, services exports in Kenya have accounted for over 50% of the increase in total exports, and are poised to overtake goods exports, says a World Bank report.

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Trade, transport, ICT and financial services lead the pack.

Kenya’s growth model has been well-regarded for a number of reasons. Unlike most of its African peers, the country embraced the role of the private sector from the start.

One major accomplishment and often under-appreciated aspect of the country’s growth story is that Kenya has lived within its means.

The country has never sought or received debt relief, but has opted for better economic policy - raising revenues, liberalizing trade and the forex market.

However, there are distinct features of Kenya’s growth model that upset its growth story. Firstly, agriculture’s share in GDP declined from 26.5% in 2006 to 22.0% in 2014 while manufacturing stagnated at 11.8% of GDP on average during the same period.

Secondly, growth has not been inclusive: poverty, unemployment, and informality remain prevalent.

Thirdly, economic growth has been uneven and volatility is high. Domestic shocks have had bigger and longer-lasting effects than external shocks. Hence, reducing volatility becomes primarily a question of domestic policies.


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