President Ruto’s first year: Hits, misses on economy


President Ruto’s first year: Hits, misses on economy



President William Ruto inherited an economy weighed down by a myriad of challenges, including a severe drought, high inflation and a weakening shilling.

On the campaign trail, Dr Ruto had told voters that he was up to the task of turning around the economy. Among his top priorities was creating jobs and bringing down the cost of living.

“We anchored our campaign on the platform of the economy premised on job creation and the well-being of the people and we have been working continuously on the measures to bring down the cost of living,” he said in his inaugural speech.

One year later, the President’s scorecard on the economy is one of mixed results—a hit here, a miss there. Inflation has eased owing to favourable weather and measures deployed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the financial regulator whose main objective is to stabilise prices.

However, a slowdown in inflation has predictably been replaced by increased interest rates owing to the measures taken by the Central Bank of Kenya to slow down price increases.

High-interest rates are undermining yet another of Ruto’s priorities of making affordable credit available to Kenyans, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.

Through the controversial Finance Act 2023—which has been the subject of both street and legal fights—Ruto’s government reckons it has finally found the silver bullet to narrowing the budget deficit, an elusive goal for much of Uhuru Kenyatta’s presidency.

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