Contribution of Farming to Kenya’s Economy Shrinks After Data Revision

The contribution of farming to Kenya’s economy slumped after the East African nation revised its national accounts data, which showed non-traditional sectors like communication are gaining importance.

The contribution of agriculture, forestry and fisheries shrank to an average of 20.4% from 2015 through 2019, compared with almost 33% previously, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said in a report on Thursday. The information and communications sector’s share expanded to 2.6% from 1.4% as the weighting of telecommunications, under which Kenya’s biggest company Safaricom Plc is categorized, more than doubled. 

Contribution of Farming to Kenya’s Economy Shrinks After Data Revision

The government expects economic growth to top 6% this year after a contraction last year -- the first in almost three decades. The economy shrank 0.3% as the coronavirus pandemic hit key sectors, including tourism and education.

“Considering by how much other economies contracted in 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the 0.3% decline in Kenya’s real GDP could have been worse,” said Jee-A van der Linde, an economist at NKC African Economics. “The nation’s relatively diverse economy contributed in this regard.”

Farming still remains the biggest economic sector in Kenya, the world’s biggest exporter of black tea and largest supplier of cut flowers in Europe. Real estate now contributes 9.3% to East Africa’s largest economy, compared with 7.2% previously, while transport increased to 10.8% from 8%. 

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