Kenya says will release revised GDP data in September

NAIROBI, April 11 Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:44am EDT

NAIROBI, April 11 (Reuters) - Kenya will rebase its gross domestic product and release the data in September, which is likely to have the effect of increasing its GDP, now about $37 billion a year, the statistics office said on Friday.

Kenya, east Africa's biggest economy wants, to have better coverage of certain sectors of the economy, including mobile money transfer services and internet activity. Most governments overhaul GDP calculations every few years to reflect changes in output.

Nigeria overhauled South Africa as Africa's largest economy after a rebasing calculation on Sunday, almost doubling its gross domestic product to more than $500 billion.

"Obviously, it will have an upward shift, but the magnitude is not known," Zachary Mwangi, acting director general at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, told Reuters by telephone. "One big component of national accounts is the GDP, so the revised series will series will include the GDP numbers."

In a separate statement, Mwangi said the base year will move from 2001 to 2009 and the revised series will cover annual and quarterly data starting from 2006.

Mwangi's statement was meant to correct information that has been reported by media this week regarding the expected size of Kenya's GDP after the rebasing exercise.

Kenya's economy is mainly based on agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and services like banking, insurance and mobile telephony. The country is also exploring for oil in the northwest and is laying the groundwork to start production.

British explorer Tullow Oil and partner Africa Oil , which have made the discoveries, put the resource estimate of discoveries so far at 600 million barrels of crude.

Although a bigger GDP may result from rebasing, some development economists argue that attention should be on improving the health, education and incomes of ordinary people, many of whom struggle to feed their families. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by James Macharia, Larry King)