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Country Forecast Kenya September 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Kenya September 2017 Updater

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2552463
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit


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  • Political tension and uncertainty will remain high in the near term after the Supreme Court, on September 1st, annulled the result of the presidential election (held on August 8th) because of irregularities. Blaming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the court ordered a re-run within 60 days. The election results for parliament and county structures are not affected by the ruling.
  • The Supreme Court's intervention is positive for the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution, but the short-term challenge of organising a re-run free of fraud is substantial. Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee Party) beat Raila Odinga (National Super Alliance; Nasa) by a 54.2% to 44.9% margin in the annulled poll, but the re-run will be closer, making it difficult to predict a winner. Regardless of the outcome, a broadly peaceful re-run would be positive for Kenya's democratic deepening.
  • Security risks associated with terrorism and ethnic rivalries, and institutional turf wars arising from reforms embodied in the new constitution are the main medium-term threats. Stronger checks and balances and the devolution of authority to 47 new counties may boost accountability over time, but the shift is fuelling power struggles between and within the various arms of government, to the detriment of governance.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects real GDP growth to dip to 5.1% in 2017 (revised down from 5.5%), because of dry weather, slow credit growth, electoral tensions and global uncertainty. However, growth will remain robust, and will quicken to 6.1% in 2018 (before easing), driven by higher public and private investment, and stronger household demand.
  • Inflation remains elevated because of high food prices, although our forecast for 2017 is revised down slightly to 9.1% (from 9.5%), helped by maize subsidies. Inflation for 2018-21 will be lower, helped by prudent monetary policy, barring shocks such as drought and surging oil prices.
  • Kenya's business environment will become more accommodating during the forecast period, underpinned by pro-market reforms such as deregulation, the formation of public-private partnerships and trade liberalisation. However, structural deficiencies, including infrastructure bottlenecks and skills shortages, will persist.
  • Rising disposable income per head will fuel demand for retailing (including groceries and durable goods)-creating new openings for manufacturers and importers-and for a wide array of services, such as telecommunications, banking, insurance, health and recreation.

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