NAIROBI — Kenya’s economy expanded at the fastest pace in eight years in 2018 and may grow at a similar rate this year, Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said.
Gross domestic product climbed 6,3% from a year earlier, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Director-General Zachary Mwangi told reporters Thursday in Nairobi.
That’s the biggest annual increase since 2010, when East Africa’s largest economy grew by 8,4%.
“Our estimate was 6% and I’m glad it turned out to be higher than what we were projecting,” Rotich said at the same briefing, adding that the government expects expansion of “over 6%” in 2019.
Last year’s performance exceeds expectations by the World Bank, which had forecast growth of 5,8%. Kenya is the world’s biggest exporter of black tea and agricultural production, which accounts for about half of the economy, advanced 6,6% in 2018 from 1,8% a year earlier. Output in 2017 was curtailed by drought and infestations of fall armyworms that curbed corn production.
It’s unclear whether the economy will be able to sustain its strong performance this year, said Razia Khan, the chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank Plc.