Agriculture remains a significant part of the Kenya economy, however, growth was slowed by several hurdles, most prominently a drought that the state declared to be a national disaster. The drought restrained domestic production of staple crops such as maize, leading to food scarcity and steep rises consumer inflation. Despite the lower grain output, production of horticultural crops marked an all-time high and remained crucial sources of foreign exchange earnings. Meanwhile, meeting the ambitious target set by the Big Four agenda, which aims to transform Kenya from a state incapable of satisfying domestic demand into a food-secure country, will require mitigating dependence on rainfall, diversifying the nation’s staple basket and supporting smallholders. This chapter contains an interview with Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
Having earned the moniker Silicon Savannah – a status the country first actively sought in 2013 when it launched its economic development roadmap, Vision 2030 – Kenya has made significant strides in ICT. Vision 2030 included a technology development blueprint with the main objective of transforming the country into a global digital player. Progress in this regard is being fuelled by favourable government policy, investment in infrastructure and a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Improvements, such as the addition of four fibre-optic sea cables between 2009 and 2016, have stepped up the quality of connectivity and reduced costs for consumers and businesses. Value-added services supported by mobile money have enabled mobile operators to maintain profitability, as the industry’s focus has shifted, first from voice to SMS, then to the current era of data-driven growth. This chapter contains an interview with Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of ICT.
Kenya’s construction and real estate sectors experienced slower growth in 2017 than in previous years, owing in part to uncertainty surrounding the contested August general elections, which translated in part, to no major government-led infrastructure projects being announced in the second half of the year. However, while the construction sector grew by less than the 9.8% recorded in 2016, healthy expansion of 8.6% was seen in 2017 for the sector to constitute 6.4% of that year’s GDP. Steady tendering activity is continuing, particularly for irrigation, transport and housing projects that are outlined in Vision 2030, the government’s long-term strategic planning document. Specifically, the real estate sector was marked by softening prices for prime residential and commercial properties. However, the outlook is brighter for the short-to-medium term, due to the government’s commitment to housing and the post-election resumption of normal commercial activity. This chapter contains an interview with Mucai Kunyiha, Chairman, Kenya Property Developers Association.