Kenya's least performing sectors which sacked most workers in 2016

In what looks like a list of shame, key sectors of the economy combined reportedly sacked more than 10,000 workers last year.

This is because everyone knew that 2016 was a tough year and financial institutions like World Bank had already issued warning that tough economic times laid ahead and therefore investors knew what was coming.

What however stood out in the report was that key sectors of the economy which had traditionally performed well and employed millions of Kenyans performed dismally.

In what looks like a list of shame, key sectors of the economy combined reportedly sacked  more than 10,000 workers last year.

Dozens of companies resorted to staff layoffs to cope with a “tough operating environment”

About 89.72 per cent of the 832,900 new jobs created last year were from the informal sector commonly referred to as Jua Kali.


Agriculture could easily pass as the least attractive sector in 2016, lack of market, poor prices coupled with poor yields and you have a Kenyan farmer.

Kenya’s economy has traditionally relied on foreign currencies from agricultural exports to cater for majority of its budgetary needs, this was however not the case in 2016.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing decelerated from a revised growth of 5.5 per cent in 2015 to 4.0 per cent in 2016.

A severe drought which is currently ravaging parts of the country including food producing counties in has been blamed for the low yields.

The situation is expected to get worse thanks to army worms which have already infested parts of Trans Nzoia, the breadbasket of Kenya.

Banking and Insurance companies

Only one thing can be said about the banking sector in Kenya last year, it did not inspire confidence at all.

After capping of interest rates was introduced in the fourth quarter, it seems banks caught a cold and then violently coughed off thousands of jobs.

Equity bank led the park and took the ‘shame’ crown, between 2015 – 2016, it laid off more than 1000 employees.

On the insurance front, UAP followed suit and declared that it too would lay off at least 1000 employees in a “restructuring” process.

Overall growth of the financial sector decelerated from 9.4 per cent in 2015 to 6.9 per cent in 2016.

The Kenya Shilling weakened against major currencies and averaged KSh 101.5 per USD in 2016 compared to KSh 98.2 per USD in 2015.

Building and Construction

2016 was especially a tough year for ‘watu wa mjengo’ (manual laborers), after the National Youth Service ‘Kazi kwa Vijana’ programme was suspended the government shifted its focus on the standard gauge rail (SGR) and left the construction to be a ‘ghost sector’.

Small construction projects also dwindled since banks could not provide loans to 'high risk' local kenyan investors.

The building and construction industry registered a slower growth of 9.2 per cent in 2016 compared to 13.9 per cent in 2015.

As a result complementary businesses such as informal eatery joints found near construction sites also went down and collapsed along the construction sector.


The fourth estate shifted from being the good coup highlighting social evils and giving victims a voice to becoming the aggressor and perpetrator in 2016, at least in the eyes of  now jobless journalists.

Numerous media houses from Royal media services, Standard group, Nation to K24 'silenced' hundreds of reporters by firing them citing continuous losses.


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