Kenya’s economy grew to 4.9 per cent in the first quarter of the year compared with a revised 4.7 per cent a year ago, though a slowdown in tourism hampered growth, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.
East Africa’s biggest economy has struggled with a number of challenges in the past year, including attacks blamed on Somalia’s al Shabaab militants that have scared away tourists that has eroded foreign exchange earnings in the key sector.
(READ MORE: What’s next for Kenya’s battered tourism sector?)
Drought has also reduced farm output.
“All the sectors of the economy recorded positive growths of varying magnitudes except the hotels and restaurant whose growth contracted,” the statistics bureau said in a statement.
The construction, finance and insurance, information and communication, electricity and water supply, wholesale and retail trade, and transport and storage sectors all expanded, the statistics bureau said.
The tourism sector contracted by 7.5 per cent – compared with 14.1 per cent during the same period last year – while the bed occupancy rate in hotels along Kenya’s Indian Ocean coastline is estimated to have shrunk by 21.9 per cent, it said.
The performance of the horticulture sector, which has been hit by drought this year, was mixed. Flower exports rose 11.7 percent while vegetable exports fell 3.3 per cent, it said.
(READ MORE: Kenya’s tourism sector to recover by 2016)
Growth eased to 5.3 per cent in 2014 after a 5.7 per cent expansion in 2013 as tourism contracted and agricultural output slowed but the government has said it expects the economy to expand to 6.9 percent this year.
The World Bank has forecast six per cent growth this year, citing falling oil prices and bigger infrastructure investments.