The review of national economic data – usually known as rebasing – has increased the size of Kenya’s GDP by a quarter to $55.2 billion (Sh4.8 trillion) from $44.1 billion (Sh3.8 trillion) in 2013, the acting director-general of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) told journalists in Nairobi.
The rebasing involved changing the base year used in working out GDP from 2001 to 2009 and reclassifying economic sectors for greater data accuracy.
This places Kenya ahead of Ghana and Tunisia whose GDP estimates stand at $48 billion (Sh4.2 trillion) and $47 billion (Sh4.1 trillion) respectively.
GDP is the market value of all goods and services a country produces in a year. Kenya’s per capita GDP – the wealth produced annually divided by the population – has now risen to $1,246 (Sh108,400) from $999 (Sh86,900).
The World Bank ranks nations with per capita GDP of between $1,045 (Sh90,900) and $4,125 (Sh358,900) as “lower middle income”. Such states are not eligible for interest-free loans that are usually offered to poor nations.
Analysts say the higher GDP figures will make Kenya an attractive investment destination given that global firms prefer to set up in large economies that offer more opportunities.
Kenya’s data review comes months after Nigeria rebased its GDP figures to overtake South Africa as the biggest economy in Africa, estimated at $500 billion (Sh43.5 trillion). Egypt is ranked third followed by Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Libya and Sudan.
East Africa’s second largest economy, Tanzania, plans to review its GDP data by end of the year – which may increase the size of its $33 billion (Sh2.9 billion) economy by 20 per cent.