Kenyan Elections: Implications for the Economy


Elections are a time of both excitement and anxiety, as they possess the ability to bring both wanted as well as unwanted change, depending on who is voted in. The Kenyan elections have been a source of controversy in the past, and with the next elections coming up in August, people are about to vote on the future of the country. This short article will examine some of the possible economic implications.

Previous Elections

Previous elections in Kenya have, on occasion, led to turmoil. In the 2007 elections, anger over the results and accusations of corruption were rife, and vicious riots followed in which more than 1000 people were murdered. This type of event can be extremely damaging to Kenya’s reputation, and very disruptive to the overall economy.

The 1992 elections saw the Kenyan economy shrink by 0.8%, and the following two elections also saw stunted growth. This shows just how serious and far reaching the effects of elections have been on the Kenyan economy, although results in the most recent elections did not see the same economic repercussions.

Uncertainty

One of the most significant implications of any election worldwide is the uncertainty that precedes it. With candidates vying for political dominance and support of their political and economic policies, there is no telling what might be in store or what might change after the elections.

This can often have consequences for the economy both before and immediately after the election. In Kenya, for instance, coffee production could fall as a result of economic cutbacks or disturbances in the country and thus affect those trading coffee in the commodities trading business.

Policies of Candidates

President Kenyatta who is seeking reelection, for instance, has promised to continue to fight corruption while continuing to bring development to parts of the country which have been neglected in the past. This would inadvertently increase the number of investors who would see Kenya as a good destination to do business.

Raila Odinga wants to return Kenya to its past glory of being a giant in the East African region. These policies are enterprising and progressive, and promise a decent level of change in the current system. How the successful candidate also addresses the problem of youth unemployment could prove to be vital in stimulating the Kenyan economy and bringing future success.

The Future

Kenya’s economy certainly has the potential to grow, although its interest rate policy is seen by many in the international community as a significant obstacle to this. The results of the elections could, therefore, have implications for the country’s growth, potentially impacting Kenyan industries like agriculture and manufacturing.

If these industries can be nurtured and invested in, it may well prove prosperous for Kenya’s future, as well as create jobs for the many unemployed youths. As with all elections, the economic policies will ultimately be voted for by the people of Kenya.

Having been rife with both economic and domestic turmoil in the past, this election could prove to be significant in deciding Kenya’s political and economic course. As with all elections, the preceding months will be the most uncertain as the country readies itself for such a decisive event.