East Africa’s economy registers fastest growth

African Progress Report 2012 attributes the growth to a sustained public investment in infrastructure in Tanzania and Ethiopia. Investment in mining and energy in Tanzania and Uganda respectively boosted the economies. The report issued by The Chair of Africa Progress Panel, Mr Kofi Annan, at the just ended 22nd World Economic Forum (WEF) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said the continent’s outlook was bright. “Times are uncertain.

But what is increasingly evident is that Africa is on its way to becoming a preferred investment destinations,” Mr Annan said in the report. The report shows that East Africa was the fastest growing region followed by West Africa which grew by 5.6 per cent pulled down by Ivory Coast and Nigeria economic contraction following postelection violence and low oil production respectively.

“Central Africa’s economic activities remained robust although average GDP growth declined from 5.2 in 2010 to 4.8 per cent in 2011,” the report, entitled “Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing Opportunities in Times of Global Change’,” said.

In Southern Africa, output expanded by 3.8 per cent last year, up from 3.5 per cent with considerable variations, pushed up mainly by GDP growth of 6 per cent for Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique. The said growth reflected rising mining output and global demand for minerals. The report indicates “it is just not the headline numbers that are impressive. GDP per capita is also rising.

Growth is more diversified, more resilient - and some countries were less dependent on exports of primary commodities.” The report also shows that the continent has started to turn the corner on reducing poverty. It shows that between 1998 and 2008 Africans living on less than a 1.25 US dollar fell from 58 per cent to 48 per cent. “Other social indicators have also improved.

Compared with a decade ago, Africa’s children are less likely to die before their fifth birthday, women are likely to die from complications of pregnancy or in childbirth and more children are getting into school,” the report indicates.

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