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Post-Event Summary

The AmCham Economic Outlook Forum provides an annual forward-looking prognosis for business climate insights and perspective on Kenya's market potential for businesses.

The 2020 Forum held on January 31, 2020 was attended by over 70 members. 

The National Treasury 2020 Economic Outlook

Dr. Geoffrey Mwau, Senior Economic Advisor to the Cabinet Secretary at the National Treasury, representing the Principal Secretary Dr. Julius Muia, presented the Government's projections on the economy this year with the following highlights:

  • The ongoing implementation of "Big Four" priority projects will support faster growth of the economy: Real GDP growth in calendar years is projected at 6.1% in 2020 from an estimated growth of 5.6% in 2019. In Fiscal years, real GDP is projected at 6.2% in FY 2020/21 from 5.8% in FY 2019/20.
  • Credit to the private sector from the banking sector, particularly to the MSMEs is expected to grow faster improving economic activities following the repeal of the capping on the interest rate in 2019.
  • As economic growth in the sub region and sub Saharan Africa picks up, Kenya's exports to these markets are expected to increase.
  • Improved agricultural activities primarily driven by the ongoing interventions on the Big Four Agenda aimed at food security and nutrition will spur growth in the sector by 5.3% in 2020 from the estimated 4.1% in 2019
  • The completion of key infrastructure projects such as Railway (SGR) and its operation, Ports, roads, low cost housing, and energy interventions are expected to continue improving Kenya's competitiveness and boost investments.
  • Inflation rate is expected to remain within the Government target range and exchange rate projected to remain broadly stable and competitive.

He highlighted the following as the focus areas for government in 2020:

  • Accelerating growth through investments in the priority programmes under the "Big Four" Agenda.
  • Investments in irrigation schemes to reduce dependence on rain-fed agriculture and diversifying exports.
  • Protecting and safeguarding macroeconomic stability through prudent fiscal and monetary policies through reduction on fiscal deficit, management of inflation within target, stability in interest rate and support of the competitive exchange rate. Further, holding of adequate foreign exchange reserves that would deal with any external shocks.
  • Deepening reforms in the financial sector to ensure a stable and strong financial system in Kenya.
  • Promoting manufacturing sector and expanding intra-regional trade and deliberately targeting new markets for Kenyan products.
  • Focusing on domestic resource mobilization and expenditure rationalization to reduce expenditure and debt accumulation.

The AmCham 2020 Economic Outlook Statement

The AmCham Board President, Phillipine Mtikitiki, delivered the AmCham 2020 Economic Outlook statement. She acknowledged the significant improvements made by Kenya in areas such as ranking on the ease of doing business index, visible growth in new investments and expansion of existing operations, the launch of the Kenya Investment Policy and President Kenyatta's directive to clear pending payments to businesses by the government and process VAT refunds.

She however noted that the current economic slowdown experienced in the country is a pointer to the need for action on the following key issues:

  • Cap the growing burden and unpredictability of taxation – ReiteratedAmCham's position and advocacy for predictability of regulation and taxation with a focus on increasing the tax base, by growing the economic pie so that there is more to distribute towards long term investment.

  • Regulatory Reform - Development of clear, transparent and progressive regulation through meaningful public-private sector engagement to enhance predictability.

  • Promotion of Free Trade - Reiterated the need for open, comprehensive and reciprocal trade agreements, that will not only contribute to a more enabling business environment but also give more opportunity to benefit from export trade.


  • Increase Competitiveness of

She called on the government toput in measures to grow the economy so that there is consistent increase in business opportunities, growth and number and quality of jobs created, collaborate with the private sector and ensure that pronouncements and declarations filter into action for tangible benefits.

Read full statement

USAID Mission Director Mark Meassick's Statement

He reiterated the need for comprehensive data as a basis for decision making, highlighting that data would help establish the real rate of growth of Kenya's economy that is not government driven through public projecys, that is, what is the real private sector-led growth of the economy.

He further discussed the results of data collection efforts and stakeholder engagement across all 47 counties that USAID undertook over the last year to inform the development of a new 5-year engagement strategy with Kenya.