Kigali, 3 May 2018 (ECA)- Eastern Africa continues to grow rapidly. As a result, the region’s average per capita income reached 740 USD in 2016, double the figure ten years earlier. “Albeit from a very low base, this is the result of sustaining rates of economic growth considerably higher than African or global averages over the period” says Mr. Andrew Mold, Acting Director the Office for Eastern Africa of UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
“We should not fool ourselves – the region still needs to confront some serious developmental challenges if it is to attain the Sustainable Development Goals in 2030 – but in general the people of Eastern Africa now live longer and healthier, receive better education, and enjoy an improved quality of life compared with just a generation ago”, stressed Mold.
A policy dialogue was organised today by the Office for Eastern Africa of ECA at Kigali Conventional Centre to exchange views on progress and challenges in the region. According to new ECA report entitled Macroeconomic and Social Developments in Eastern Africa 2018. Despite the marked improvements, growth in the region is still fragile. In particular, the development of the manufacturing sector in Eastern Africa has been lagging behind, limiting job creation and holding back technological progress.
The report notes that other than in Ethiopia, which has implemented an ambitious programme of export-oriented industrial parks, government policies have not thus far managed to promote robust growth in the manufacturing sector.
Another important theme highlighted in the report is the need to improve the business environment in Eastern Africa. Private sector development has been relatively lackluster and the bulk of productive investments are still accounted for the public sector. Growth would be stronger and more resilient if policies were implemented to bolster private sector activity, the report argues.
The Eastern Africa region comprises: Burundi, Comoros, D.R Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Office for Eastern Africa
Economic Commission for Africa