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Kenya's economy had been growing steadily, but Saturday's attack could hinder growth

Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall, site of Saturday's mass shootings where 68 have been reported dead, might as well have been a mall in suburban America.

Kenyan consumers could buy shoes from brands such as Nike, Adidas or Converse, or visit Samsung's store and buy a new smartphone. When hungry, a shopper could buy frozen yogurt or sit down for sushi.

Before it became the site of Saturday's mass killings, the Westgate mall highlighted the sub-Saharan nation's status as a regional commercial hub.

"Kenya's economic gains over the past few years are impressive, particularly coming as they have in a context of global weakness and uncertainty," said Antoinette Sayeh, director of the African division of the IMF, in a Sept. 17 speech in Nairobi.