The Star (Nairobi)

28 December 2012

Kenya: Citizens Upbeat On 2013 Economy, Jobs

Photo: The East African
Nairobi shoppers (file photo): Consumers still suffering despite inflation going down.

THE economy, politics and employment opportunities will improve in the New Year, Kenyans believe. According to a poll by Ipsos Synovate this month, 65 per cent of Kenyans are optimistic that the economy will improve in 2013.

Only 17 per cent said it would worsen, 9 per cent said it would be the same as in 2012 while another 9 per cent said they do not know. Optimism about next year's economic conditions increased by 38 per cent.

The percentage of those who expect the economic conditions in 2013 to be better stands at 59 per cent compared to 21 per cent who felt that 2012 would be better.

"The net effect of this is that there are more Kenyans who are optimistic about the economic conditions in 2013 compared to the same period last year," the pollster concluded.

This could be attributed to present economic indicators like the shilling trading at an average of 85 to the dollar's 107 at the end of last year.

Inflation also dipped to 3.25 per cent in November 2012 compared to of 19.72 per cent in November last year. The most visible sign of reduced inflation is the fall in the prices of basic commodities.

However, Kenyans in the rural areas have higher expectations compared to those in the urban areas with with 66 per cent of those in the rural areas being more optimistic against 62 per cent of those in the urban areas.

By region, 68 per cent of respondents from Rift Valley have the highest expectation, Nyanza (67 per cent), Coast (66 per cent), Central and Eastern (65 per cent), North Eastern (64 per cent), Nairobi (62 per cent) and Western (58 per cent).

By gender, 64 per cent of men are more optimistic about 2013 than women at 53 per cent. "This is because males have more information on the economy, politics and employment," the pollster said.

In politics, 53 per cent of Kenyans expect that development will take centre stage shortly after the March 4 general election.

This is unlike 2012 when a similar poll showed 56 per cent of respondents said that the political climate would worsen at the height of the Kibaki succession battle.

"The change in expectations is largely driven by the short run up time to the elections. Kenya will have elected a new President by early March or April 2013 upon which most Kenyans expect that the main focus thereafter will be national development," the poll observes.

On the prospects of improvement in employment, almost two-thirds (61 per cent ) of Kenyans expect better prospects in 2013 as compared to 2012.

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