Kenyans’ economic outlook brighter, Afrobarometer survey finds

Afrobarometer

A plurality of Kenyans say the country is going in the right direction – double the optimistic response in 2011. But a majority of citizens still describe economic conditions as bad, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

While economic insecurity remains high, perceptions of personal living conditions are the most positive since 2005. Nonetheless, majorities of citizens say the government has performed poorly in keeping prices stable, creating jobs, and managing the economy.

Key findings

  • About half (48%) of Kenyans say the country is going in the right direction – a 5-percentage-point improvement since 2014 and double the optimistic response in 2011 (Figure 1). 
  • However, a majority (55%) of Kenyans still describe the present economic condition of the country as “fairly bad” or “very bad” – only a slight improvement since 2014.
  • Almost half (47%) of Kenyans went without enough food at least once during the past year (Figure 2), and the proportion of citizens experiencing a repeated lack of basic necessities has increased since 2014.
  • A majority of Kenyans say the government has performed poorly in keeping prices stable (76%), creating jobs (69%), and managing the economy (55%) (Figure 3).
  • Half of Kenyans (50%) expect economic conditions in the country to be “better” or “much better” within 12 months’ time.
  • By a 15-percentage-point margin (50% vs. 35%), Kenyans favour government investments in new infrastructure, even if such projects result in a heavy debt burden on future generations. Support for infrastructure investments is especially strong among young and better-educated citizens.

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