NAIROBI - Kenya’s economy grew by 4.9% in the first three months of this year slowing down from a growth of 5.5% in the same period last year.

Kenya was "somewhat" spared the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic during the period, except for the hospitality sector which has been hit hard, according the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

It goes on to say that the hospitality industry shrunk by nearly 10% due to massive cancellations and the suspension of international travel as well as an unprecedented closure of hotels and other tourist sites, as the country raced against time to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Kenya’s major trade partners such as China, the European Union and the United States suffered far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and this meant export earnings were immediately squeezed.

Traditional growth sectors that have been badly affected include agriculture, transportation, financial services and retail.

The longer-term impact of the pandemic on the Kenyan economy is, however, expected to be more fully understood in the next review - which will capture the second quarter of the year between April - June. That is the period in which more than 6,000 Covid-19 cases were confirmed.

The International Monetary Fund has also warned that the country might face negative growth for the first time in nearly three decades.(FA)