Kenya Economy Slows as Tourism Extended Almost Two-Year Slump

Growth in Kenya’s economy, the largest in East Africa, slowed in the third quarter as the tourism industry contracted following a spate of attacks carried out by Islamist militants.

Gross domestic product rose 5.5 percent on an annual basis from July to September compared with 5.7 percent the quarter earlier, the Nairobi-based Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said today in an e-mailed statement. That compares with expansion of 6.6 percent in the third quarter of last year.

Output from the accommodation and restaurants category shrank 14.6 percent from a year earlier, with the industry contracting for the seventh straight quarter.

Tourism has been affected by gun and grenade attacks in the country, mainly claimed by al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based affiliate, al-Shabaab. The militants have said the assaults, including a raid last year on a shopping mall in the capital, Nairobi, that left at least 67 people dead, are revenge for Kenya deploying troops in Somalia to help defeat the fighters.

Kenya in September revised its calculation for GDP, increasing the size of the economy by 25 percent to $55.2 billion last year, rising to lower middle-income status. The economy is forecast by the government to expand 7 percent in the fiscal year beginning in July from 6.1 percent in 2014-15.

Agriculture, which accounts for about a fifth of economic output, rose by 6.2 percent in the third quarter on a yearly basis, while financial services increased 9.9 percent, the statistics agency said. Seasonally adjusted GDP rose 5.3 percent compared with 6.1 percent from April and June.

Kenya’s shilling climbed 0.1 percent to 90.65 per dollar by 3:21 p.m. in Nairobi.

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