Optimism reigns as East Africa’s economic recovery accelerates
Kigali, November 21, 2021 (ICE) – Around 100 policymakers and economic experts attended the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts (ICSOE) organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in East Africa to discuss how countries should build resilience for a strong recovery and how to attract investment to foster economic diversification and long-term growth in East Africa. ”
Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of ECA, highlighted how in 2020 East Africa’s economy contracted for the first time in decades. She said the agricultural sector has not been spared, faced with climatic shocks and the largest locust invasion in 70 years. “The region has lost millions of jobs,” she noted.
Ms Songwe underscored her optimism, saying early projections suggest the region’s economy will grow by 3% this year, with some economies like Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Uganda rebounding by more than 4%. She also noted the progress made towards the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and affirmed ECA’s continued support for the implementation of national strategies.
The guest of honor at the meeting was Mr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda, who highlighted how resilient regional economies have proven to be, with Africa experiencing the slightest economic contraction in the world. world in 2020 at -1.7%. Minister Ndagijimana called on all countries to harness the benefits of AfCFTA and create an enabling business environment by adopting business-friendly approaches and facilitating bureaucratic processes at the regional level.
Meeting participants also discussed a detailed comparative analysis of the macroeconomic situation in East Africa taking stock of the impact of the pandemic from both an economic and social perspective.
Mr. Andrew Mold, Head of Regional Integration and AfCFTA group at ECA in East Africa presented the report overview on the report on macroeconomic and social developments in East Africa in 2020/21.
The report notes that East Africa is said to have lost the equivalent of 18 million jobs lost in the second quarter of 2020 alone (ILO, 2021). Several countries have adopted tax packages in response to the crisis, notably to support income and businesses. But the scale of the stimulus packages is insufficient to replace the jobs lost in the region.
Mr. Mold urged governments to speed up the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations; expand emergency support measures; maintain critical infrastructure projects; accelerate digitization; accelerate the implementation of the AfCFTA and align health services with regional priorities.
The twenty-fifth ICSOE East Africa meeting took place in a hybrid format, both in Kigali and online from October 27-29, 2021.
During the meeting, the new Board of ICSOE was constituted, with Rwanda taking the chair of ICSOE. Other members of the bureau include Seychelles as 1st Vice President, Burundi as 2nd Vice President and DRC as rapporteur.
Economic Commission for Africa
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UNECA – United Nations Economic Commission for Africa published this content on November 21, 2021 and is solely responsible for the information it contains. Distributed by Public, unedited and unmodified, on 22 November 2021 05:53:06 AM UTC.