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Submitted by Web Master on 19 June 2014

The Society for International Development (SID) recently shared with Tanzanian parliamentarians new information about East Africa in a bid to create awareness about the progress towards achieving harmonious growth and equity in the region.

Presenting a report entitled The State of East Africa 2013.  Mr. Aidan Eyakuze, the Associate Director of SID said that the concepts of inclusiveness and equity are fundamental to the integration process and economic development of the region.

Mr. Eyakuze pointed out that although the East Africa economy continued its impressive growth rate trend with an average of 6 per cent growth in 2011 and a GDP of $ 83 billion in that year, the income per capital data for 2011 shows the significant intra-regional differences between Burundi’s per capital income of $ 271 and that of Kenya which stood at $ 808.   

He said that East Africa expanded the value of its total trade by $ 8.2 billion to $ 45.8 billion in 2011 from $ 37.5 billion in 2010. He said the report shows imports continue to dominate the region’s trade. With growth of $6.5 billion in 2011, imports were responsible for 79 per cent of the region’s total trade expansions and for 72 per cent of total trade in that year. He said the $ 18 billion value of East African’s top five imports in 2011 was more than twice as large as the $ 7 billion value of its top five exports.

 He said that although exports increased by $1.76 billion, they accounted for just 21 per cent of that year’s trade growth and only 28 per cent of the region’s total trade in 2011, the lowest since 2005.

Mr Eyakuze, further said that East Africa attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of $ 3.9 billion in 2012, a $ 1.8 billion increase from $ 2.6 billion in 2011. With a combined total inflow of $ 3.4 billion, the two main energy rich countries of Uganda and Tanzania received 90 per cent of the investment inflows into the region.

He said although Uganda and Rwanda experienced aid cuts in 2012 in 2011 the region received $8.3 billion in total net disbursement of aid up from $7.9 billion in 2010, representing 18 per cent of total aid flows to sub-Saharan Africa for 2011.SID also observed a shift in aid allocations by donors away from the poorest countries towards middle-income countries. These are signs that declining aid flows to the region could soon be a strong feature of its economic relationship with donor countries.

On corruption, Mr Eyakuze said that East Africa continues to be blighted by the vice and the most important institutions being affected, including those responsible for security and justice. He said the police account for 50 per cent of the most corrupt sectors in the region followed by the judiciary at 30 per cent. The police departments in all five East African Community states appear in the top ten most corrupt institutions, pointing to the harsh reality experienced by many citizens in their dealing with law enforcement institutions in the region. In Kenya, only five per cent indicated that they reported incidents of bribery to the authorities. The figure in the other EAC member states was eight per cent in Uganda, 10 per cent in Burundi, 11 per cent in Tanzania and 15 per cent in Rwanda.

SID prepared the report with support of TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with a view of stimulating debate on East Africa and informing decision makers working on integration issues as they move towards achieving the objectives of equitable distribution of benefits and harmonious economic growth.

SID is a network of individuals and organization working to promote social justice and democratic participation in development processes.