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ICT, internet key contributor to Country’s GDP

Use of Information Communication and Technology was recorded in a recent survey as the greatest contributor to the country’s economy pushing the sector into the top ten highest contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Economic Survey 2021 report released yesterday by the KNBS indicates that the value of output from the ICT sector to Kenya’s GDP increased by 2.5 per cent to Sh538.3 billion in 2020.

ICT industry has more than doubled from Sh123 billion to Sh258 billion in 2019, according to revised GDP figures released yesterday by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, KNBS.

The report however noted that Kenya’s revised GDP figures had undervalued ICT contribution to the economy in previous estimates due to shortcomings in the data measuring process.

“Better data resources were used in this survey’s revised compilation thereby giving a more active projection,” the report stated.

The sector’s upward review, mostly prominent in the more recent years, was also informed by availability of data on innovative products especially in telecommunication activities.

Telecommunication companies, radio and television broadcasting, publishing activities, Internet service providers among others were recorded as the major contributors in the sector, contributing approximately Sh325 billion as at 2019.

Mobile phone and mobile money subscriptions also recorded an upward trajectory standing at 126 per cent and 67 per cent respectively in 2020, compared to 111 per cent and 61 per cent in 2019, respectively.

The study further revealed that more Kenyans are now in possession of mobile handsets with the mobile cellular penetrations in the Country having grown by 15.1 per cent to 126.1 per cent subscription per 100 inhabitants.

According to the Economic Survey report released, it also revealed that total mobile money transfers in the Country increased from Sh4.3 billion to Sh5.2 billion in 2020.

Further, domestic mobile call traffic increased by 2.5 per cent from 58.7 billion minutes in 2019 to 60.3 billion minutes in 2020.

The overall upward trajectory in this sector puts the Information and Communication sector real value added as having gained by 4.8 per cent in 2020.

Further, the survey projected that the economy will   increase by more than 6 per cent this year after contracting at 0.3 per cent in 2020 due to the disruptions caused by the Cocid-19 pandemic, a government official said.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, who released the findings noted that the growth in global trade in 2021 is expected to boost external demand for Kenya’s products and thereby augment the country’s economic growth.

“The key macroeconomic indicators will most probably remain stable and supportive of growth in 2021, the economy is therefore expected to record a significant rebound in 2021,” he added.

The survey is an annual publication prepared by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)   that provides socio-economic information covering a five-year period.

By Alice Gworo

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