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Kenya's turmoil could cost economy $1bn

NAIROBI:, January 8, 2008

Kenya's post-election violence and chaos may have cost the economy up to $1 billion, Finance Minister Amos Kimunya said.

'It's an estimate of the slowdown in the economy because of loss of production. My estimate was about $1 billion may have been lost,' Kimunya said.

He said the estimate did not factor in the destruction caused by looters who went on the rampage when President Mwai Kibaki was pronounced the winner of the December 27 vote.

'I expect whether it's within the next couple of months or within a year ... that people will be able to recoup all that,' Kimunya said.

The post-election turmoil disrupted trade on the currency and stock markets, and forced the weekly tea and coffee auctions to postpone their sales.

But the tea auction, which also serves Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique among others, resumed yesterday.

The central bank projects Kenya's economy will grow by eight percent in 2008, compared with government forecasts of between 6.9 and seven per cent for 2007.

Kimunya said whether those targets were met depended on a speedy recovery.

'Depending on the rate of recovery ... Kenyans will eventually settle down and go on with their production. I expect probably our target will be met.'

Official growth figures for 2007 have yet to be released.

Last week, the World Bank and other donors voiced concerns that Kenya's turmoil could threaten its impressive economic gains and harm regional economies that depend on it as a business hub. – Reuters




Tags: economy | Kenya | Election | turmoil | chaos |

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