A Potential Buyer’s Market: Decrease of the Cost of Living in Kenya

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NAIROBI — In July 2017, Infotrak Research Kenya found that 50 percent of Kenyans see their country going in the wrong direction. The 46 percent observed the following to be the cause: Kenya’s living expenses. However, other Kenyans believe the country is experiencing economic growth. Various steps are being taken to reduce the cost of living in Kenya.

This year, Kenya’s overall monthly inflation rate decreased. This occurred after financial institutions witnessed a 4.3 percent decline of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some products, such as staples, have undergone a 7.7 percent increase in inflation. In contrast, the inflation of yearly food items dropped from 21.52 percent to 15.81 percent between May and June.

However, Kenya’s living costs tend to rise from the actions of the country’s citizens as well. Kenyan consumers sometimes raise the price of basic commodities through eating more of the same food items – instead of diversifying purchases – and increase store expenses for those items. Raising the Kenyan consumer’s awareness of this factor could reduce the cost of living in Kenya as well.

Still, economists say that Kenya’s government should reduce the costs of producing most items, especially since the purchasing system itself is sometimes the true culprit behind increased living expenses. Economists point to Kenya’s droughts as a second factor in determining living expenses. Thirdly, economists suggest that Kenyans follow a budget on living expenses or reduce their number of daily meal purchases.

Fuel prices highly contribute to Kenya’s living expenses and affect millions of residents. The KPC (Kenya Pipeline Company) is working on a solution to this challenge, targeting the enhancement of Kenya’s petroleum distribution, storage efficiency and capacity. KPC’s proposal is especially important to consider since petroleum supplies 22 percent of Kenya’s energy and is crucial to transport, manufacturing and other uses.

Raila Odinga, the leader of NASA (National Super Alliance), has promised to create jobs for more than 12 million young Kenyans. Odinga also plans for NASA to provide affordable housing to more Kenyans, including opportunities for women to effectively support their families. With more Kenyans having the financial means to afford living expenses, more Kenyans could be able to handle various living expenses.

Kenya’s massive supply of bamboo is another resource that could be used for lowering the country’s living costs. Bamboo could be used to produce bags that are recyclable, biodegradable and cheap, replacing expensive plastic alternatives. Webuye PanPaper is one company being considered to produce bamboo bags and teach Kenyan farmers how to effectively utilize their bamboo plantations.

With so many plans and resources for the country to choose from, the cost of living in Kenya could become more affordable for many residents. While various efforts will continue to be made in reducing these costs, it will only be achieved through dedication and cooperation. Still, the fact that changes to Kenya’s expenses are being proposed proves that the needs of Kenyans are not being ignored.

Rhondjé Singh Tanwar

Photo: Flickr

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