Kenya’s economy projected to expand by 5.5pc this year

Citibank expects Kenyan economy to grow by 5.5 per cent this year supported by growth in the manufacturing and services sector. This is compared to a growth rate of 4.7 per cent last year. But the Government’s plan to revise its calculations of the gross domestic product (GDP) could see the total value of all goods and services produced in the country rise by an estimated 15-20 per cent this year, according to the US-based financial conglomerate.  “The provisional indications are that the revision will be around 15 to 20 per cent. This would increase GDP in 2013 to around $50-53 billion (Sh4.35 trillion to Sh4.611 trillion) from our estimate of its current level of around $44.1 billion Sh3.84 trillion in 2013,” says David Cowan, the bank’s Head Economist for Africa. According to Citi, the economy is unlikely to grow at 5.8 per cent as projected by the National Treasury.
The bank says the economy is grappling with serious challenges including drought, infrastructure constraints and insecurity, which have a negative impact on tourism and the wider corporate investments.

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Kenya, EU to develop platform to enhance market access

Kenya and the European Union (EU) will develop a bilateral platform to address challenges that Kenyan products face in accessing the EU market, a Kenyan government official said on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho told journalists in Nairobi that EU has from repeatedly introduced stringent sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures which constitute a handicap for Kenyan exporters.

"The creation of a bilateral dialogue will ensure fairness as well as a level playing field," Kibicho said during the EU-Kenya Trade and Investment Forum in a speech read on his behalf by head of Political and Diplomatic Secretary Robert Ngesu.

The platform is expected to be operational once the East Africa Community and EU sign an EPA. Kibicho added that current trade relations between Kenya and EU are based on the interim Framework Economic Partnership Agreement.

"The framework allows for duty free entry of products from Kenya into EU," he said.

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BAT Kenya to pump Sh1.4b into local operations

BAT Kenya has announced plans to invest Sh1.4 billion in its local operations, as it seeks to position the country as the key source of tobacco for its export markets. The cigarette manufacturer plans to also reinvest the amount on streamlining its sales network and factory operations in Nairobi and Thika. The move by the firm comes at a time when key markets such as Egypt and South Sudan are undergoing serious political turmoil. BAT Managing Director Chris Burrel says that the funding of its operations will transform the Kenyan business into a true global trading centre for other markets where political unrest has affected business. The new investments also follow a decision by the BAT group to consolidate its East Africa leaf operations that led to the migration of Uganda’s leaf processing to Kenya’s Thika Green Leaf Threshing plant. 

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Uhuru calls for increased Kenya-Nigeria trade

President Kenyatta spoke when he officially closed a one-day business forum hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan at State House, Abuja. The forum brought together leading Kenyan and Nigerian businesspeople to explore ways of deepening their cooperation.

The occasion saw the signing and launching of the Kenya-Nigeria Trade and Investment Council which will be co-chaired by Equity Bank’s James Mwangi on the Kenyan side and Aliko Dangote of the Dangote Group on the Nigerian side. The council has the responsibility of boosting trade between the two countries.

Noting the unfulfilled trade potential between Kenya and Nigeria, the President underscored his Government’s desire to enhance trade and investment flows between the two countries.

“One main aim of my visit here, therefore, is to further build and strengthen the foundation that we have put in place for robust economic and commercial relations between the people of Kenya and the people of Nigeria,” the President said.

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