In what is more likely to be a challenging year ahead, 2022 has demonstrated patterns of uncertainty and unpredictability, that has in retrospect been detrimental to economic growth. The recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic albeit present, has been slow and leisurely paced. Its implications were dreadful and destructive to functioning of the global economy. In addition to that the Russia-Ukraine war has thrown the global market off balance, damaging supply chains, and crucially impairing the energy and manufacturing sectors. Inflation levels were noted as record-breaking, its ramification in the Kenya market saw the depreciation of the Kenyan Shilling against the dollar, threatening the export/import sectors and ultimately the entire financial sector. 2022 was also characterized by a huge employee turnover in big tech companies; Google, Twitter, Facebook, and it’s still ongoing. In Kenya, these are evident in media entities and the manufacturing companies. The labor market has at full length, witnessed a titanic shift owing to these events. Aside from these pessimistic occurrences, 2022 had also displayed moments of relief and awe from the leadership theatrics that eventually saw to the appointment of Rishi Sunak and Benjamin Netanyahu as the United Kingdom and Israeli’s prime ministers respectively. In addition, the United Nations (UN) praised Kenya for the peaceful elections and the smooth transition of power, demonstrating a mature democracy, following the aftermath of the electioneering period. The 22nd edition of the sporting event, FIFA World Cup, held in Qatar was amusing, throwing the masses into a warranted frenzy. The completion and the commencement of infrastructure projects such as the Express way reshaped Nairobi’s appearance. In retrospect, 2022 was distinguished by its highs and lows, the latter being apparent and more vivid than the former. What then is the futuristic outlook for 2023?
Cost of Living:
In the financial year 2023, the assessment of the cost of living is an apparent downward spiral. Granted, the Finance Act 2022 projects additional taxes set for the taxpayers during the financial year. Taxes such as mobile-bank transactions and vice versa, capital gain tax increase, transfer of shares and rights, streaming of movies on Netflix and Spotify usage and the access of e-books and videoconferencing platforms. With this, plus the elimination of the subsidies in oil and maize flour for transport and consumption respectively, it is quite evident that the disposable incomes will be negatively affected. In addition, the cost of electricity is projected to rise following the government’s directive to eliminate the 15% discount and failure by KPLC to reach an agreement with independent power producers (IPPs). Another possible catalyst to the calamitous cost of living is the unforeseeable effects from prolonged drought patterns. It’s clear that product prices will continue to rise, given the precarious current economic state of play. The sectors likely to experience volatile labor movements are the agriculture, energy, manufacturing, tourism and the export sectors. The first UDA’s 2023/24 budget will most likely project wins in operationality and performance of ministries with their allocated disbursements, altogether ensuring minimal mismanagement of funds and attainment of counties’ goals. Also, it is anticipated that the debt-to-GDP ratio will remain undeviating, albeit Kenya’s GDP position being contested by Angola and Ethiopia.
2023 promises to be a busy year for African politics and democracy as countries hold high-stakes elections. Some of these countries include Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Gabon and DR Congo. Coincidingly, Kenya can channel efforts in bilateral political relations and dialogues between and among those countries through various channels. For instance, Kenya will potentially hold discussions through the EAC, to demonstrate and act on matters at hand, to show support to Sudan through their electioneering period. Although it might seem a tad complicated, especially when Kenya decides to build the bridge and make amends between Rwanda and DRC’s stalemate, there might be consequences that will either weaken or strengthen the EAC bond.
China’s influence in Africa will be anchored in Kenya as trade, investments and the real-estate industry take shape, with the development of reliable infrastructure projects. We anticipate seeing more infrastructure projects but with careful consideration of debt levels
Entertainment and Sports:
In hindsight, 2022 has heavily depicted how the music industry, case in point Afrobeat movement, has evolved. New noteworthy artists have come up and completely blown out the industry, with the embrace of Amapiano beats and dance. Kenyan outdoor and indoor events are mostly categorized by this music, practically shunning away from the once-admired pop and RnB brackets. Besides, artists from the West are also collaborating and featuring in Afrobeat music, as patronage. Afrobeat music will steadily hold this trend as more people get familiar and exposed to it, as artists also get well-acquainted in the industry.
In the world of sports, Arsenal is likely to win the EPL after about 1000 years. Sure, the Manchester brothers could pull a surprise, but this is very bleak. Furthering the embrace of sports in recent years, secondary school games have also gained momentum. It is a no brainer that the same will continue in 2023. Come May-September 2023, it is unmistakably clear that Kenya marathoners will shine, although Ethiopians too will put up an impressive fight.
The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Advertising:
AI is here and it will soon be able to draw, core and write with more skill than most of us. ChatGPT proves to be very articulate with assertions about anything a user asks from it. The use of AI in functionality is evidently tireless, fast and contrary to beliefs, very affordable. Understandably, artists and professional skills will be threatened, taking into consideration how the workspace will evolve with the adaptation of machine learning, robotics and AI. This is inevitable, albeit we are not likely to see its repercussions in Kenya this year.
Unlike in advertising where it is quite plain to see that the industry is taking on a different approach when in comes to endorsements. Influencer marketing once was a wave however audience targeting through specified algorithms following privacy directives and user experience is where it’s at.
While it is difficult to predict the exact economic outlook for Kenya in 2023 with affirmative certainty, it can be predicted that it is not going to get any better, due to uncontrollable factors such as global events and weather patterns. However, in the fullness of time, Kenya’s economy will still be considered one of the strongest in the region.