World Bank sees Kenya’s GDP growth at 6.0 pct in 2015

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya is due to become one of the fastest-growing economies in east Africa, with a growth forecast of 6.0 percent in 2015 and 6.6 percent in 2016, the World Bank said on Thursday, citing falling oil prices and bigger infrastructure investments.

Kenya’s economy grew by an estimated 5.4 percent in 2014, the bank said in its latest economic update, while growth could accelerate to 7.0 percent in 2017.

“After growing an estimated 5.4 percent in 2014, its economy is poised to be among the fastest growing in the region,” the report said.

But the bank also said Kenya’s exports growth has been lagging that of imports, and urged the country to support the manufacturing sector to boost exports.

“Sluggish external demand for exports, especially from the Euro area and emerging economies, has contributed to the widening of the current account deficit in recent years,” the bank said.

Last September, Kenya changed the base calculation year for measuring its gross domestic product to 2009 from 2001, sending the east African nation into the continent’s top 10 economies.

Analysts say the east African nation has struggled to achieve its full growth potential in recent years.

Its tourism sector, one of Kenya’s top foreign currency earners, has been struggling due to a spate of attacks blamed on al Shabaab militants from neighbouring Somalia, including the 2013 attack in Nairobi’s Westgate Mall that killed 67 people.

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