According to a report released by African Development Bank, Kenya was projected to have one of the slowest economic growths in East Africa.
The Embargoed African Economic Outlook 2023 report revealed that Kenya's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would grow by 6 per cent in 2024.
This was East African Community's third slowest economic growth, with Kenya only bettering war-torn countries South Sudan and Burundi.
While the 6 per cent growth in Kenya was among the lowest in EAC, the country was projected to register positive growth for a third consecutive year.
Kenya peaked economically in 2021 when it registered a 7.5 per cent economic growth and dipped to 5.5 per cent in 2022.
Projections for 2023 were pegged at 6.0 per cent, with ADB revealing that Africa as a continent would bounce from external economic shocks to register positive growth.
Compared to EAC neighbours, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo were expected to have the highest GDP growth in 2024 at 8 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively.
Kenya’s immediate neighbours and biggest trading partners, Uganda and Tanzania, were expected to have GDP growth of 6.7 per cent and 6.3 per cent, respectively, in 2024.
In 2023, Uganda was expected to grow 6.5 per cent and Tanzania 5.3 per cent.
While South Sudan was expected to have a 4.6 per cent GDP growth in 2024, it was one of the highest growths in East Africa as the country had a -2.9 per cent growth in 2022.
The main reason why Kenya was expected to register slow growth was due to servicing foreign debt. Kenya's debt was Ksh9.14 trillion as of February 2023, according to the National Treasury.
ADB advised African countries to reform governance to strengthen public financial management to deal with increased debt and tight fiscal space.
“Africa’s debt remains elevated, financial inflows have stalled, and the fiscal space has significantly narrowed as countries spend on average almost one-fifth of their annual revenues on debt service,” the report stated.
Debt-ridden countries like Kenya were advised to prioritise public expenditure management and ensure value for money using limited resources.
“This must be accompanied by governance reforms and improved public financial and debt management practices as immediate steps to address the mounting debt vulnerabilities,” the report warned.
On the contrary, in April 2023, World Bank Africa’s Pulse report ranked Kenya among the best-performing economies in the continent.
On why the economy was doing well, the report cited, “Improved investor confidence supported by the credibility of President William Ruto’s plan to stabilise public finances.”