* Officials keen to attract new investments
* Stable economic fundamentals to support
(Adds comments from cabinet secretary, permanent secretary)
By Duncan Miriri
NAIROBI, May 23 Kenya's economy is expected to
expand by about 6 percent in 2013 thanks to a rebound in sectors
such as manufacturing and financial services, officials said on
The country's $35 billion economy expanded by 4.6 percent
last year, only a touch more than in the previous year, as
activity was slowed by high costs and political uncertainty.
Optimism about the prospects for east Africa's biggest
economy has risen since the country held a peaceful presidential
poll in March, in contrast with the violence-riddled poll of
five years ago when more than 1,200 people died.
Anne Waiguru, cabinet secretary for the ministry of
devolution and planning, said the country would focus on
implementing the economic plan of President Uhuru Kenyatta's
Jubilee coalition, which took power pledging to foster private
sector-led growth and lift millions out of poverty.
"If the finance and banking sector continues to grow, now
that there is no uncertainty with the elections, we would expect
that would contribute to the (overall) growth," Waiguru told
Reuters after presenting the annual economic survey.
"We expect growth in tourism, agriculture as well.
Manufacturing should improve a little bit more this year."
Waiguru attributed this year's improved growth outlook to a
stable macroeconomic environment and increased investor
confidence after the broadly peaceful elections.
The Kenyan shilling has been largely stable against
the dollar this year, gaining about 2 percent, while inflation
is well within the government's preferred range.
Edward Sambili, permanent secretary in the ministry said the
main risks to this year's growth forecast were a deterioration
in the global economy and drought, which could hit the farming
sector that makes up a quarter of the economy.
"Agriculture still remains a very huge sector. If the good
weather is not sustained we are affected," Sambili said.
Kenya is testing commercial viability of promising oil
deposits it struck last year, while Kenyatta has created a new
ministry of mining despite whittling down his cabinet,
highlighting the importance attached to the sector.
"The government will focus on pushing investments in some of
the very key strategic areas," Sambili added, citing foreign
direct investment into the natural resources sector.
Kenya could attain the double-digit growth that the
government has been targeting if it properly manages wealth from
those natural resources, the IMF said last week.
(Editing by Drazen Jorgic)