African Development Bank (AfDB) president Dr Donald Kaberuka yesterday stated that the East African Community (EAC) “is a role model bloc” for similar groupings to emulate in economic management.
Speaking at a media breakfast meeting here, he explained that the AfDB has been treating the EAC region, as the flagship of Africa’s economy and a shining example which needs to be emulated by other states in the continent.
“And that is outstanding, taking into consideration that the entire East Africa region does not have natural resources such as oil and gas, yet its economy has always been on the growth and resilient to global meltdown,” Dr Kaberuka said, adding that the EA economy has remained stable over the past eight years, despite series of global financial crunches.
With an estimated population of 130 million, the EAC comprises of five member states, including Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and Tanzania. The countries’ economies are mostly tied onto the agricultural sector.
The regional economic figures presented recently by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers of the EAC and Kenyan Minister for EAC, Mussa Sirma indicated that the real GDP of the bloc by 5.9 per cent last year compared to 5.8 per cent a year before, which is above the estimated growth in the sub-Saharan Africa region.
Sirma added that on other macroeconomic performance indicators, the EAC current account balance, as a percentage of gross domestic product worsened from negative 7.8 per cent in 2010 to negative 7.9 per cent last year.
Consumer prices spiked last year, rising by 8.5 per cent compared to 7.2 per cent a year before. Consumer prices in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi rose respectively from 4.1, 2.3 and 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 14.0, 5.7 and 14.9 per cent last year.
The rising inflation was attributed to low agricultural production due to drought and high fuel prices recorded last year. On the other hand, Tanzania and Uganda recorded reduced consumer prices last year from 10.5 and 9.4 per cent in 2010 to 7.0 and 6.5 per cent last year respectively.