Kenya’s GDP to grow 6% in 2023 on resumption of rain, eased geopolitics – experts

Experts at ICEA Lion Asset Management have projected Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product to grow six percent in 2023 owing to the return of normal or near-normal rainfall that will boost agricultural production.

In the Q1 2023 Investor Pulse released on Wednesday, experts noted that they expect the resumption of the long rains season to reverse the agricultural contraction experienced in 2022.

The crucial agriculture sector faced a second successive year of contraction in 2022 due to the effects of the La Nina weather phenomenon that reports indicate may now be coming to an end.

“The nonrecurrence of the drought and the general election that constrained growth in 2022 would give an uplift to a number of key economic sectors in 2023. Specifically, the agriculture, manufacturing, transport, information/communication and financial services sectors are expected to rebound the most in 2023 in the absence of the factors like drought and elections that impacted growth in 2022,” ICEA LION Q1 Investor Pulse read.

The country’s inflation has remained above the preferred 7.5 percent since June last year hitting a five-year high of 9.6 percent in October before easing to 9.5 and 9.1 in November and December, respectively.

“We expect the inflation to go below the statutory requirement rate of 7.5 percent in the course of the year,” said Einstein Kihanda, ICEA Lion asset management CEO.

Kenya is currently struggling with a rising debt, which was at KES 8.7 trillion in October, having risen from KES 7.9 trillion in October 2021.

Experts now project that the country will reach its debt repayment obligations if the government cuts costs and borrowing. This as Kenya faces considerable debt servicing pressures as a result of a higher debt burden.

Financial experts have also said Kenya should expect a more stable shilling in the second half of 2023. The Shilling depreciated by eight percent in 2022 largely due to the strengthening of
the US dollar as a result of interest rate hikes in the US.

“While the shilling may face further downward pressure in 1H23, it may fare better in the second half as the US dollar sheds some of the significant gains witnessed over the last 12
months,” the report read.

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