Kenya’s gross domestic product jumped higher after the government changed the base calculation year to 2016 from 2009, sending the east African nation’srevised nominal GDP to Ksh 10.753 trillion ($102 Bn) in 2020, the 6th largest economy in Africa.
The statistics office also estimated that Kenya’s real GDP however contracted by 0.3% in 2020 from a growth of 5% growth in 2019.
Using the new updated base year,agriculture remained the dominant sector,with its GDP contribution now at 23% of the total value of the economy in 2020. The contribution of agricultural activities to total GDP shed 12.5 percentage points from a 5-year average of 32.9 per cent in the old series to 20.4% in the new series.
“With Kenya rebasing its GDP, Renaissance capital expected an upward revision but not as big as the 25%, that we saw in 2014, because a sizeable share of the informal economy was incorporated then. Plus, as the economy gets bigger, the percentage upside is likely to get smaller”- Yvonne Mhango, Acting Head of Research Africa, Africa Economist, Renaissance Capital said on Wednesday on the implications of previous rebasing.
Impact of Covid on Economy
The contraction of0.3% in 2020 was mainly because of the negative impact of Covid-19 that affected every sector of the economy. The authorities said that the contraction was more dismal in accommodation and food serving activities, education, professional and administrative service activities.
As with other recent rebasings in Africa, the move takes into account structural and other economic changes, such as new technology, and updates the base year for prices.
This is the seventh time Kenya has revised National Accounts statistics. The first official estimates of domestic income were prepared in 1947 and the first revision carried out in 1957 after a number of surveys were conducted to fill in the data gaps. Subsequent revisions were carried out in 1967, 1976, 1985, 2005 and 2014.