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Friday, January 11, 2008

Kenya Economy Reeling From Post Election Violence

The orgy of violence that has greeted Kenya's disputed election result has led to hundreds of deaths and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.The post election violence witnessed in various parts of Kenya has indeed raised pertinent questions on the resilience of the economy to sustain long periods of civil unrest and violence.

Kenya's tourism industry, which brings in some $900m (£455m) a year and attracts more than one million visitors a year, is sure to take a hit after four days of rioting and ethnic clashes. Its relative economic success has been helped in part by its thriving tourist sector, with visitors attracted by its abundant wildlife and pristine beaches.Provisional figures for 2006 from the Kenya's tourist board said the country had received 1.5 million visitors for the year, a growth of 5.2 per cent.

The stalemate over the election results has cost the economy billions of shillings with the repercussions being felt across East Africa.

Bankers Analysis
Several bodies including the Treasury, Nairobi Stock Exchange, Tourism sector, and financial organizations have given their predictions and analysis of the implication of the destruction and sporadic violence that errupted in the country against a backdrop of controvesial presidential elections and delays in announcements.
The effects are indeed immense and portends widespread implication for Kenya as an emerging economy that has recently been rated the fast growing and most preferred by investors seeking emerging markets.

East Africa
The pinch on the economy is not only being felt locally with close to 4B having been lost but has spilt to Uganda, Tanzania Rwanda and Burundi where essential products were not forthcoming as fuel passing through Kenya was unavailable due to closure of roads and violence.

Central Bank of Kenya analysis
Kenya’s economy has grown steadily in the past five years with all indicators pointing out that if the trend was sustained, growth would hit 10 per cent. The economic recovery that started in 2003 has achieved some major milestones and laid down solidly the growth fundamentals. The growth fundamentals laid down have reversed growth decline that had taken years. It is true that the recent violence in some parts of the country could adversely affect the tempo of economic activity, but cannot destroy the growth fundamentals so far laid down. more

Foreign investors
Private investment has been behind Kenya's thriving economy. It has averaged GDP growth of 5% since 2002 and the economy is expected to expand by 7% in 2007 - rates of growth that are only beaten in booming Asian countries such as China.
Kenya's shilling strengthened by 9% against the dollar in 2007 as foreign investors poured into the country's stocks and bonds, but those gains were largely erased when currency markets began trading on Wednesday.

Equity Market
The equity market on the Nairobi Stock Exchange lost 40 billion Kenyan Shillings ($591 million) in value on its first day of New Year trading Wednesday. Kenya has attracted a large number of multi-nationals and is home to one of the world's fastest growing stock exchanges.

Positive Prospects
Expected planned sale of Safaricom shares might stir the market once again back to its feet .