Kenya flag Kenya: Visió econòmica i política

El context econòmic de Kenya

Economic Indicators

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Kenya has enjoyed a decade of strong economic growth, allowing the country to access the status of a middle-income country in 2016. The country was one of the fastest-growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa until the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. After contracting by -0.3% in 2020, GDP growth rebounded to an estimated 5.9% in 2021, and is forecast to remain strong in 2022 (5.8%) and 2023 (5.5%) (IMF, latest estimates). Private consumption will be the main driver of growth (Coface). Downside risks include the country’s reliance on foreign loans for infrastructure and the rise in its external debt levels (Focus Economics).

Kenya's economy suffered from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly the fall in tourism, but showed remarkable resilience and recovered in 2021. The authorities pursued a reform program aiming at responding to the pandemic, supporting economic recovery and addressing debt vulnerabilities (IMF). As revenues dropped and social and health expenditure increased, the budget deficit deteriorated, but fiscal consolidation efforts managed to stabilise it. Public deficit reached -8.2% GDP in 2021, and is expected to remain at that level in 2022 before decreasing to -5.8% GDP in 2023 (IMF). The government removed Covid-19 related subsidies and expenditures, but increased spending to fight insecurity and drought in the North (Coface). Public debt continued to grow from 63% GDP in 2020 to 67.9% GDP in 2021, and is expected to stabilise at 71.2% GDP in 2022 and 2023 (IMF). As a large part of the debt is owed to international creditors in foreign currency, public finances are vulnerable to exchange rate movements. Fuelled by higher energy prices, inflation increased from 5.2% in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021, and is expected to decrease to 5.8% in 2022 and 4.8% in 2023 (IMF). The central bank is expected to respond to inflation by hiking its interest rate(Coface). Kenyan authorities remain committed to the 38-month program under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangements (worth USD 2.34 billion) approved by the IMF in April 2021. This program aims to reduce debt vulnerabilities by raising tax revenues and tightly controlling spending, while safeguarding resources to protect vulnerable groups (IMF). Expanding the Covid-19 vaccination program, supporting the state-owned enterprises reform, responding to the drought in the northern regions and tackling security issues are the priorities. The government will also pursue the previously launched Big 4 development agenda. This program, which is part of the long term development plan of the country, Vision 2030, will prioritize four major areas: manufacturing, universal healthcare, affordable housing and food security.

Kenya has been invested in reducing child mortality, meeting this Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target. The country also managed to almost reach universal primary school enrolment, while narrowing gender gaps in education. Kenya has been ranked 143rd in the 2020 UNDP Human Development Index. The unemployment rate was estimated at 3% in 2020 (World Bank). After three consecutive poor rainy seasons, food security deteriorated in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, which need continued humanitarian assistance (Euler Hermes).

Main Indicators 202020212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 100.93110.52114.86117.56125.10
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -0.37.5e5.35.15.5
GDP per Capita (USD) 22222
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 68.067.869.467.564.6
Inflation Rate (%)
Current Account (billions USD) -4.79-5.74-6.81-6.55-6.82
Current Account (in % of GDP) -4.7-5.2-5.9-5.6-5.5

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, October 2021

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Kenya is particularly advanced in the sector of services and has been the source of innovations adopted throughout the continent. In 2017, it became the first country to sell government bonds through mobile phones. It is also the third largest producer of tea and first exporter (in volume) in the world, the 8th producer of dry beans, the 15th producer of oilseeds, and is among the 20 largest coffee exporters (FAO). Agriculture represents 23% of Kenyan GDP and employs 54% of the workforce. Agriculture and horticulture are the two largest sectors of Kenyan economy. Coffee, wheat, sugarcane, fruit and vegetables are among the main crops, and dairy products, beef, fish, pork, poultry, and eggs are the main animal products. The country exports tea, coffee, cut flowers and vegetables.

Although the country has little in terms of mineral resources, some high-value minerals such as titanium, have considerable potential. In addition, Kenya could become an oil and gas producer in the years to come, as new oil deposits (with a potential of 750 million barrels) were found following the drilling of exploration wells in the Turkana County (North-West). Industry amounts for 17.4% of the GDP and employs 6% of the workforce.

The services sector contributes to 53.6% of the GDP and employs 39% of the workforce. Tourism, a core sector of the Kenyan economy, has been hit by several terrorist attacks carried out by the Al-Shabab group since 2013. Manufacturing and financial industries, although modest, are among the most sophisticated in East Africa. The IT and communications sectors are expanding rapidly and the construction industry is very dynamic. The growth pace of the transport, medicine, education or financial services makes Kenya a regional hub. Mombasa is the third-largest port in Africa.

In 2020, the COVID-19 crisis hit the Kenyan economy, especially tourism, trade, transport, real estate and financial services (Euler Hermes). Agriculture exports including cacao, tea and flowers were also negatively impacted, but activity started to recover in 2021.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 54.3 6.2 39.4
Value Added (in % of GDP) 22.4 17.0 54.4
Value Added (Annual % Change) -0.2 7.2 9.5

Source: World Bank, Latest Available Data. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.


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Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.}}

World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2020-2024


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

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Actualitzacions: January 2023

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