Kenya in First Recession Since at Least 2000 on Virus Curbs

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Kenya slid into a recession for the first time in at least two decades in the third quarter of 2020 as measures introduced by the East African state to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic continued to hurt output.

Gross domestic product in East Africa’s biggest economy fell 1.1% compared with a year earlier, after shrinking a revised 5.5% in the second quarter, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday by email. The outcome matched median of three economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Before the decline in the second quarter, the economy last contracted in the third quarter of 2008, when post-election violence led to a 1.6% drop in output, according to the statistics office. The agency only started publishing quarterly GDP data in 2000.

Kenya confirmed its first coronavirus infection in mid-March and later imposed a partial lockdown. Shutdowns in key markets such as the European Union and the U.K. as well as global travel restrictions hit the country’s main foreign-income earners, including tourism and exports of tea, flowers, fruit and vegetables.