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Crawling Kenyan Economy recovers after election.

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Kenya’s economy is expected to rebound to 5.8 percent growth in 2018 after electoral uncertainty and drought cut last year’s expansion to the lowest level in more than five years, Finance Minister Henry Rotich said on Wednesday.

The economy will benefit from increased investment in key areas like manufacturing, farming, housing and healthcare, he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta won re-election in November in a second vote after the first in August was annulled by the Supreme Court citing irregularities. Around 100 people, mainly opposition supporters, were killed mainly by police during the prolonged election season.

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Despite the slowdown in 2017 our outlook is bright,” Rotich said at the launch of the annual economic survey.

“We expect growth to recover to 5.8 percent in 2018 and over the medium term the growth is projected to increase by more than 7 percent.”

Growth slowed to 4.9 percent last year from a revised 5.9 percent in 2016, the statistics office said.

Rotich said the projected economic rebound is supported by favourable economic fundamentals including inflation, which has dropped to about 4 percent this year.

“The ongoing investments in infrastructure, improved business and factory confidence and strong private consumption are expected to support growth,” he said.

Kenya’s diversified economy is better able to withstand shocks like the commodity price drop that started in 2014 and hit oil-producing African countries such as Nigeria and Angola.

But its economy was hobbled by a severe drought in the first quarter of last year that was followed by poor rainfall.

The services sector including tourism grew strongly last year and that helped to offset the slowdown in farming and manufacturing, said Zachary Mwangi, director general of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

Tourism is vital for hard currency and jobs and grew 14.7 percent while earnings surged 20 percent, he said.

In contrast, growth in the agriculture sector, which accounts for close to a third of overall output, slid to just 1.6 percent in 2017 from 5.1 percent the year before.

The government says manufacturing is a priority due to its potential to create jobs and it grew at 0.2 percent last year from 2.7 percent the year before.

Production of cement, sugar and processed milk slid as firms reeled from the impact of the election and high costs.

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Somalia, Ethiopia to jointly invest in seaports

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Somalia and Ethiopia announced they were jointly investing in four seaports to attract foreign investment to their two countries, the latest move in a tussle for access to ports along one of the world’s most strategic waterways.

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After Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo hosted Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed for a meeting at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the two leaders issued a joint statement of pledges to cooperate on everything from the development of infrastructure including roads linking the two countries to expanding visa services to promote cultural exchanges. 

The statement did not elaborate on which ports the two countries would develop.

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Ethiopian Government states reason for airline privatisation.

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Ethiopia’s government has explained that privatisation of the national airline and state telecommunications company is being done to ease the shortage of foreign currency.

Ethiopia announced last week plans to open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment.



In an exclusive interview with state broadcaster, Fana BC, Dr. Yinager Desie, Commissioner of the Ethiopian National Planning Commission said lower export performance, failure of mega projects to commence production, high demand for imported goods and growing external debt burden have worsened the shortage of foreign currency.

Ethiopia requires more than $13 billion over the coming two years for oil importation, private investment, upgrading of existing projects and for repayment of external debt.

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South African telecommunications firms MTN Group and Vodacom Group have already expressed interest in taking up investment options in Ethiopia’s telecom sector as soon as it opens up.

Desie says the privatised enterprises would generate large amount of foreign currencies to tackle shortage.

The commission will therefore give priority to foreign companies in privatising the enterprises as government’s decision is targeted obtaining foreign currency.

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Uganda approves new coffee law.

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Uganda governing Cabinet has approved a new coffee law, which is expected to streamline mushrooming institutions and players in the sub-sector that contributes sh158b to the economy every month.

According to Col Shaban Bantariza, the deputy government spokesperson, the proposed new law will also repeal the existing legal framework that establishes the Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA).

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“The National Coffee Bill intends to facilitate the development of a competitive, equitable and sustainable Coffee Industry by promoting Coffee research, good Coffee farming practices, domestic consumption of Coffee and adding value to Coffee,” Bantariza said on Tuesday morning.

Bantariza, who was speaking at the Uganda Media Centre, said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, ministers also proposed the introduction of a coffee auction system, to ease trade in the sub-sector.

“The Bill will also provide for an authority to regulate all on-farm and off-farm activities in the coffee value chain,” he added.

The Government target on coffee production is to export 20 million bags by 2020.

Official figures from UDCA indicate that Uganda currently exports 401,930 bags to the international market annually.

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