MACROECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENTS IN EASTERN AFRICA 2020:
This report posits that, despite remaining the fastest growing region in Africa, the pace of economic transformation in Eastern Africa is currently too slow to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The region’s economies would benefit from deeper regional integration, particularly through the rapid implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Eastern Africa continues to register social progress, but major challenges remain, in terms of tackling poverty, job creation, and undernourishment.
Sustaining an average growth rate of 6.6% between 2014 and 2018, Eastern African economies have been growing at double the rate of the African continent. This impressive economic performance declined slightly in 2019, with regional GDP expanding by an estimated 6.1%, but is forecast to rise again to 6.6% in 2020. The high growth rate is set to continue, with improvements in agricultural production, buoyant domestic consumption and infrastructure investment sustaining growth; meanwhile, the resolution of the political conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia promises to provide a boost to development prospects for the Horn of Africa.
The strong economic performance has been accompanied by marked improvements in a selected number of social indicators. The report highlights achievements such as life expectancy, which has increased in the region by an unprecedented 6.7 years over the past decade. There have also been progress in the political empowerment of women in some countries.
Nonetheless, the report stresses that the region needs to confront some major challenges going forward. The pace of poverty reduction and job creation is currently still too slow to meet the ambitious regional, continental and global targets. Climate change is becoming a major threat to economic growth and development, and social challenges, such as violence against women and higher quality education, require greater attention by authorities.
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