Good infrastructure, more technology, increased knowledge are what East African countries need

Posted on April 7, 2014 10:47 pm

Preliminary data for 2013 shows that East African region recorded an economic growth of more than 6 percent and now some countries are in the midst of an economic slowdown. These according to a friend who works with Boston Consulting means countries need to institute transformational policies to maintain their current growth rate for the long term. East African countries growth had been relatively strong over the past one decade but the current level would not support the region’s booming population, which is expected to rise from 136 million now to 200 million in 2025.This is especially the case if the goal of development is to double prosperity within the coming decades. This requires an average of 8 percent growth rates that seem difficult to achieve due to uncertain economic conditions. The future of Africa’s most successful economic bloc calls for fundamental things to be done especially institutional transformation to tackle the emerging agenda of development to meet the future challenges of increasing competition in more integrated and globalized world.

Development that lacks inclusive growth is characterized by rising inequality in the region. From a political perspective, the current five-year electoral cycle in the region for the president has been cited as the reason for short-term political vision that negatively affects development and policies implementation in the region as it has led leaders being more interested in short-term development projects rather than long-term development goals. The developmental outlook of bureaucrats is focused on the short term and that’s why tough decisions have not been implemented and why the regional development in the long-term perspective needs to be re-evaluated. To achieve the level of growth that it aspires to, East African countries should no longer merely rely on reactive and proactive policies but must profoundly readjust their economic frameworks. I suggest a dose of transformative policies that would involve more integrated strategy and evolving sustainable reforms that can promote more dynamic and lasting change.

Contador Harrison