Kenya Aims to be Africas Gateway for Manufacturing

Kenya Aims to be Africa’s Gateway for Manufacturing

The country is projecting double-digit growth by 2018.

NAIROBI -- Kenya, which is targeting middle-income status by 2030, is aiming for double-digit growth five years from now, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday.

East Africa's largest economy was hit hard by political violence in 2008 and then by a regional drought, as well as by the repercussions of the global economic downturn.

Its economic growth picked up to top 4% in 2012, after hovering around 1.5% in 2008, when the country was hit by the worst violence since independence.

For 2013 the government expects gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.6%.

"We are not at the point of realizing our full economic potential," Kenyatta said at the opening of a two-day conference organized by the International Monetary Fund and the Kenyan government.

Citing a timid reduction in poverty rates from 52% in 1997 to 46% in 2006, the Kenyan head of state said: "These improvements are neither satisfactory nor compatible with our stated aim to become a middle-income country by 2030.

"To resolve this, we will raise GDP growth rate to double digits within the second Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030.... We aim to accomplish this by 2018," Kenyatta said.

He outlined an ambitious economic development plan aimed both at improving on the country's traditional strengths such as agriculture and tourism and promoting new sectors, notably manufacturing and telecoms.

"We want to make Kenya Africa's gateway, manufacturing and technology hub and a home to millions of entrepreneurs," he said.

"My administration intends to set off an industrial revolution to power our ambition of becoming a middle-income country by 2030."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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