INTERVIEW-Kenya cuts '08 growth estimates after weak Q3

Tue Jan 6, 2009 11:34am GMT

* Cuts 2008 GDP growth estimate to 3.5-4.0 percent

* Sees 5.4 percent growth in 08/09 financial year

* $227 mln bonds to be issued locally in two months

By Duncan Miriri

NAIROBI, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Kenya's economy may have grown by a slower than expected 3.5-4.0 percent in 2008 after declines in tourism and agriculture curbed third-quarter growth to 2.1 percent, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

The government had forecast 4.5-6.0 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2008, down from 7.0 percent in the previous year, because of the negative impact on the economy of bloody a post-election crisis at the start of the year.

The violence in east Africa's biggest economy shattered its reputation as a beacon of stability in the region, scared away tourists, prevented farmers from planting crops and dented economic activity in general.

"Now, all indications are that 4.5 growth will not be attainable. It could be anything between 3.5-4.0 percent," Geoffrey Mwau, Economic Secretary at Kenya's Ministry of Finance, told Reuters.   Continued...

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