Only three years after the global financial crisis caused a sharp downturn in the Kenyan economy, the country has rebounded and earned a reputation as one of the continent’s frontier economies. Growth this year should be around 5.5 percent, inflation is subdued, the external position has improved, and foreign investment is flowing.
With this strong performance in mind, the Kenyan government and the IMF announced a conference, to be held in Nairobi on September 17-18, to discuss Kenya’s economic success, prospects, and challenges. Called Ready for Take Off, the event will feature government officials, business leaders from Kenya and abroad, representatives of donor governments—particularly emerging market countries—and international institutions, civil society figures, and academics. The keynote address will be delivered by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Kenya’s progress provides a clear example of the strides that many African countries are taking in the area of economic policy,” said Antoinette Sayeh, Director of the IMF’s African Department. “It is one of a group of frontier economies that have the potential to emerge as the next generation of emerging markets. This conference will offer a unique opportunity to explore the policy options that can move Kenya to that next stage of development and to explore themes that are quite relevant to other African countries.”
A key element of the conference will be a discussion of the challenges Kenya now faces. Among the most important is addressing infrastructure bottlenecks and implementing the process of devolution. Underlying these issues is the need to achieve inclusive growth so that all Kenyans benefit from their country’s economic performance—an issue exemplified by the challenge of youth employment.
“As Kenya’s take off gathers speed, it is...