Financial Data
Updated 21 Nov 2017


Kenya

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Overview

Kenya offers investors a thriving economic centre with growing financial, technological and service sectors. Its positive investment climate makes it attractive to international firms looking for potential locations within Africa, to run regional or African branches.

The country’s performance is boosted by its strong trade platform and has the sixth-largest total trade volume in the region. The Kenyan government continues to encourage foreign participation in the economy and actively promotes the development of export processing zones (EPZs) around the country.

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Social overview

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Kenya has a very diverse, young population that includes most of the major ethnic, racial and linguistic groups found in Africa. A growing population, estimated at 45.5 million in 2014 (and estimated to reach 58.1 million in 2024), will be a key driver of economic growth in the country.

Market analysts believe that the working-age population will grow even faster, making it difficult for the country to provide jobs for the booming workforce. This can pose a significant challenge to political stability.

Finding skilled workers within certain African countries remains a challenge for businesses expanding into the region, however Kenya boasts a larger, more highly skilled, specialised and educated workforce, ranking amongst the best in Africa.

There are development challenges that the country must overcome, such as poverty and inequality. The country’s economy is also vulnerable to internal and external shocks, which can have an effect on unemployment within the country. 

 

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Kenya’s people

Population:

  • 45.5 million people
  • A very diverse and young population

Languages: Setswana, English and Kalanga

Environmental overview

Kenya faces the following environmental issues that the country is working towards overcoming:

  • Deforestation
  • Soil erosion
  • Desertification
  • Water supply
  • Sanitation (water shortages and degraded water quality)
  • Flooding
  • Poaching; and
  • Domestic and industrial pollution.

The country is vulnerable to droughts due to its dependence on rain-fed agriculture. Weather-related shocks hold risks for food supply and security and could cause a rise in demand for food imports, which could hamper Kenya’s external position.

The environment

Environmental issues in Kenya relate to:

  • Deforestation
  • Desertification
  • Water shortages and degraded water quality
  • Poaching
  • Domestic and industrial pollution
Technology overview

ICT hub

Kenya is seen as being well placed to become Africa’s leading technology hub, with plans in place to become Africa’s ICT hub by 2017. In 2013, the Kenyan government’s ICT Authority launched a national ICT master plan:‘Connected Kenya 2017’. This plan aims to ensure that Kenya becomes Africa’s most respected knowledge economy globally.

Dubbed the ‘Silicone Savannah’, Kenya’s aim is to spur the development of 500 tier-one technology companies, the formation of 20 global innovations and the creation of 50 000 new jobs by 2017. To become Africa’s ICT hub, Kenya will have to develop Konza Technology City at a cost of some USD14.5 billion. This hub will ensure that the country provides facilities required by investors as they enter the country, strengthen education in ICT so that the required talent is always available in the country, and market and strengthen brand awareness.

Some ICT companies, such as IBM, have already opened up Africa branches and data research centres in Nairobi, while Kenya has also pioneered a mobile technology economy that points to future trends in the rest of the world.

Access to internet

As a leader in mobile technology, Kenya has 36.1 million mobile subscribers. This gives the country a 83.9% penetration rate, according to the Fourth Quarter Sector Statistics Report for the Financial Year 2014/2015 (April–June 2015) issued by the country’s communications authority.

The Internet is increasingly used for basic services in Kenya such as banking, healthcare and education. In 2013, the sector contributed 12.1% to the country’s GDP of USD44 billion.

The country’s mobile money transfer service is showing steady growth, and new services and apps continue to be added to provide methods for mobile payments. According to a study by the Kenya Bankers Association 71% of rural Kenyans and 51% of urban residents use their mobile phones for banking and financial services.

It is anticipated that increased Internet penetration and smartphone uptake will continue to be main drivers of increased data and mobile money transfer use.

Tech outlook
  • Kenya plans to become Africa’s ICT hub by 2017
  • Kenya has pioneered a mobile technology economy that points to future trends in the rest of the world
  • Kenya has 36.1 million mobile subscribers, giving the country a 83.9% penetration rate
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