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  • Workers inspect products arranged on the shelves as they walk inside a supermarket in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Workers inspect products arranged on the shelves as they walk inside a supermarket in Nairobi, Kenya. | Photo: Reuters

Published 2 May 2019

Compared to 2018, food and non-alcoholic beverages cost increased by 8.2 percent, and transportation prices rose 10.8 percent.

Inflation in Kenya has reached alarmingly high rates and, as a result, caused an average spike in prices of 3.5 percent and food shortage.

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In just one month, inflation rose from 4.4 percent to 6.6 percent in April, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. The main cause of inflation is a severe drought that has resulted in food shortages throughout the country. Kenya also experienced a late rainy season, which further negatively affected the country's agricultural production.

Other factors include increased petrol, diesel, and kerosene prices. 

Compared to 2018, food and non-alcoholic beverages cost increased by 8.2 percent, and transportation prices rose 10.8 percent. The hike marked the highest inflation rates since September 2017, when inflation reached over 7 percent. 

The target inflation rate set by the Central Bank of Kenya is five percent, with a margin of 2.5 on either level. The jump in inflation threatens to overwhelm the upper limit of 7.5. The contingency plan, set in place if this does occur, is for Central Bank governor Patrick Njoroge to provide an explanation to the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich, as well as the committee on Finance, Planning and Trade.

In recent years, the Treasury and Central Bank have had several disputes over who holds the responsibility for managing inflation-related issues. 

According to experts, weather patterns from last year are pointing to potential droughts in the Greater Horn of Africa. Severely dry conditions would likely exacerbate inflation projections. 

“In April 2019 there is a high likelihood of seeing drier than average conditions over much of Uganda. The prevailing weather is likely to lead to higher food prices and upward pressures on inflation,” one analyst said.

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