Kenya moves up the income ranks

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Kenya this week moved up the income ranks after the World Bank upgraded the East African country to lower middle income, a step up from least developed country.

The bank has said the East African country’s gross national income (GNI) per capita continues to improve as Kenya maintains a discipline in fiscal and monetary policy. Kenya has now joined countries with annual incomes of 1,046 US dollars to 4,125 US dollars. The East African nation’s rebasing of its gross domestic product (GDP) in February, played a large role in the change.

The rebasing saw the country attain the ninth largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the rebased figures, Kenya’s economy grew by 25 percent.

After rebasing the country’s GDP per capita stood at 1,246 US dollars up from an earlier 964 US dollars, surpassing the World Bank’s benchmark of 1,046 US dollars.

As it is Kenya is expected to be “sustained by a stable macroeconomic environment, continued investment in infrastructure, improved business environment, exports and regional integration,” the World Bank said on the country’s economic outlook.

Other countries that joined Kenya in this category are Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Tajikistan. Meanwhile, Mongolia and Paraguay moved a step higher from lower middle-income status to upper middle-income, ‘a group with yearly income levels of 4,126 US dollars to 12,735 US dollars’.

Despite, several countries moving up an income bracket, Africa’s youngest nation South Sudan moved out of the lower middle-income classification and back into low-income status where the average per capita incomes are less than 1,045 US dollars.

The World Bank maintains that GNI remains the main gauge for assessing economic performance.

“Our latest data show that in terms of this indicator, the world’s economic geography has changed a lot. In 1994, 56.1 per cent of the world’s population – 3.1 billion people – lived in the 64 low-income countries. In 2014, this was down to 8.5 per cent, or 613 million people, living in 31 countries,” Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president.

It is heartening to see that over the last year four nations crossed over that critical line from the low-income to the lower-middle income category, he added.