Kenya: Going Beyond the Middle Income Status

Published on 30th September 2014

Kenya reportedly joins the league of middle-income after its  economy grew by 25% from USD 44.1 Billion in 2012 to USD 55.2 billion. The rebasing of Kenya’s economic size should not lull citizens to celebrate on empty pockets but push harder to be even more productive and bring value to themselves and global markets. An expanded economic size against the backdrop of lower productivity from majority of citizenry does not augur well in the long term.

The news come in the wake of a new report by Standard Bank that looked at 11 sub-Saharan African countries (Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) which combined, account for half of Africa’s GDP. The report, while acknowledging  that most African countries are achieving Middle income status, also points out that the size of Africa’s middle class has been overblown and Poverty remains pervasive. In Kenya for example, 92% of households fall within the low-income bracket. This figure is higher in Tanzania (97%) and Uganda (96%).

From the foregoing, it is clear that while growth statistics may look attractive on paper, the Kenya government has a big challenge to become an enabler of growth through platforms that unleash talent and enterprises.

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