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Friday, 20 March 2009

Kenya’s post-election violence slows down economy

Kenya’s 2008 post-election violence slowed down the country’s economic growth to between 2 and 2.5 percent compared with 7.1 percent in 2007, a senior government official said on Monday. 
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who released the provisional estimates said the post-election crisis affected hard the agricultural and transport sector’s which in turn impacted adversely on the other sectors of the economy. 
“Provisional estimates of gross domestic output show that growth may have edged around 2 to 2.5 percent in 2008,” Kenyatta said in a speech read at a public forum in Nairobi. 
“In addition, other external developments — drought, exceptionally high oil prices, and the melt down of the world economy associated with the global financial crisis — caused even more damage to the economy,” the minister said. 
Last year, the east Africa nation forecast between 4 and 6 percent growth as the impact of political violence in January and February became clear, scaring away potential investors. 
The government is seeking to raise budget spending by 7.4 percent in the next fiscal year. Expenditure may increase to 627.9billion shillings (about 7.88 billion U.S. dollars) in the 12 months through mid next year, compared with 584.5 billion shillings in the prior year. 
Kenyatta said the prevailing largely drought-induced food crisis, which is manifested in shortages and high prices, has placed heavy demand on the budgetary resources of the government. 
“To address the food crisis, the government plans to spend between now and August this year around 10 billion shillings on maize imports, and 22 billion on other necessary interventions to support the 10 million families requiring famine relief intervention,” he said.
Kenya, the East Africa’s biggest economy, is still recovering from the post-election violence which left over a thousand people dead. The country was one of the first to be hit by riots as a result of hikes in food prices last year. 
Some 1,000 people died in the post-election clashes and another350,000 people fled their homes. 
President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga signed a power-sharing deal last February to bring an end to the violence. 


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