Kenya’s economy may be through the worst when it comes to the impact from the coronavirus, but the pain for families and businesses is far from over, according to central bank Governor Patrick Njoroge.
Exports of flowers, of which Kenya is the biggest supplier in Europe, jumped 23% in May as orders returned to almost normal. Tea, with most of the black variety coming from the East African nation, jumped 15%. The amount of money Kenyans residing outside the country send back home increased as well.
“By all indications, in May, the economy is bouncing back,” Njoroge told reporters on Friday, a day after the monetary policy committee left the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 7%. “I don’t think the numbers in the end reveal the pain” that individual farmers, small business owners and vulnerable people have seen due to the pandemic, Njoroge said.
The increase in exports and savings from lower oil prices, have helped boost Kenya’s foreign reserves, now at $9.2 billion. Tourism hasn’t recovered yet.
“We’re not out of the woods,” Njoroge said. “We don’t want to be so bullish, I’d say even foolish to say that the worst is behind us. At the end of the day it’s not GDP that matters. It’s the lives of people.”
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