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  • on 11.11.2014
  • at 04:00 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Kenya on the right economic path but challenges abound 0

Nairobi – Each year on Dec. 10, Lucy Mwende and her two children hop aboard a night bus and travel to the white sandy beaches and warm waters of Kenya’s Indian Ocean, some 441 km from the capital, Nairobi. But this year they will miss that bus because Mwende says, “crowded places increase the risk of terror attacks.”

The most recent attacks were on Nov. 2 when an army barracks in the port city of Mombasa and a police station in the tourist resort of Malindi, both in Coastal region, were attacked by suspected separatist group the Mombasa Republican Council.

Kenya’s coast is a leading tourist destination and attacks there have hit the tourism sector hard. Earnings from tourism have fallen for three years in a row.

Last year, 1.09 million international visitors came to Kenya. It was a 11.3 percent drop from 1.23 million who visited in 2012.

The country earned 1.05 billion dollars from tourism in 2013, down from 1.06 billion dollars in 2012. Even though the drop appears marginal, government statistics show that a poor performance by the tourism sector in the second quarter of the year slowed down economic expansion to 5.8 percent compared to 7.2 percent in a similar period last year.

Though Kenya has posted a strong economic performance, which resulted in its recent reclassification to a middle income country, experts say that achieving the targeted double-digit economic growth rate, an increase from the current 5.7 percent, will not be easy.

All sectors are required to contribute in catapulting this East African nation’s economic growth, and there is increasing concern on the impact of insecurity on this growth.

“[The government] must become more proactive in addressing security lapses in a manner that will instil investor confidence,” David Owiro, from local think tank Institute of Economic Affairs, tells IPS.

continue reading on IPS Africa

By Miriam GathigahIPS Africa

Photo credit: Flickr

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