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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

NAIROBI: Kenya's economic growth is predicted to hit 6pc in 2019, helped by a stronger-than-expected performance in the key agriculture sector, the central bank governor said on Thursday.

East Africa's biggest economy grew by 5.6pc in the first quarter, slowing from 6.5pc in the same period a year earlier, mainly due to the impact of dry weather.

But the rains unexpectedly came in late April, brightening the outlook for the economy.

"We expect growth to remain strong. We are projecting 6pc as a baseline. It can be stronger," central bank governor Patrick Njoroge told a news conference.

The finance ministry says the economy is likely to grow by 6.3pc in 2019, the same rate as a year earlier.

Njoroge's comments come a day after the bank held its benchmark lending rate at 9.0pc, with the monetary policy committee saying inflation expectations were within the target range and the economy was operating close to its potential.

Year-on-year inflation rose slightly to 5.70pc in June from 5.49pc a month earlier, data from the statistics office showed, staying within the government's preferred band of 2.5-7.5pc in the medium term.

Copyright Reuters, 2019