The Changing Shift in Development Within Eastern Africa.

The Changing Shift in Development Within Eastern Africa.

I was taking some online programs and in the process, something caught my attention. It was a topic on the economic and demographic shifts in the context of the rapid technological changes being made possible by the 4th Industrial Revolution commonly referred to as industry 4.0.

The presenter noted that a lot of economic growth is taking place not in obvious places that we could expect, but rather in the less developed countries of East Africa and Asia. These countries he noted include Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, and by extension India which is doing well in the fight against poverty.

In Africa, it was Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. At the back of my mind, I knew Rwanda and Ethiopia are doing well because I have written about them on this site many months if not years ago. For Tanzania, I have been following up and know they are indeed doing fairly well. It was Mozambique that caught me by surprise. I leave it at that for another day.

It then happened that I accidentally ran into an article at the IMF (International Monetary Fund) site written on September 21, 2022, by Habtamu Fuje and Jiaxiong Yao which spoke about the rapid rise in African Growth and the yet-to-be-bridged income gaps.

In the article, the duo noted two countries that are doing well economically among the list of African countries fronted in my earlier learning expedition and that is Rwanda and Ethiopia. As I read that piece, I was repeatedly asking myself where Kenya lies in this whole narrative.

For some time now, Kenya has been the center of focus in the East Africa region. However, the rate of catching up with the sister countries is a point of reckoning. The truth remains that Kenya occupies a very strategic position in the region given it is the largest economy and well advanced compared to the other countries. Internet connectivity and penetration have been immense standing at over 85%. Electricity access and infrastructural development especially in opening up the rest of the country have been remarkable as well.

Interestingly enough, and on those same metrics, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Ethiopia are making recommendable progress as well. They have one more advantage though, especially in Tanzania and Ethiopia, the strides made in Agricultural production.

I was going through my LinkedIn account this past week as well and it was colored with pictures showing the harvesting period in progress in Ethiopia. One post hinted at Ethiopia’s possibility of exporting wheat to neighboring countries.

Wheat harvesting in Ethiopia. Source; LinkedIn

As a country, Kenya is known to consume a lot of agricultural products from Tanzania and Uganda and I know we may be importing soon from Ethiopia. From Mozambique, we import sugar in relative quantities and because sugar is a mucky issue, I will tackle it on another feature in the future.

From the same Mozambique spoken of earlier on, we import petroleum gas and coal briquettes amounting to over 12 million and 4 million USD respectively. Don’t think I am against any of this, nay. Economies have to trade with others for economic prosperity. I am only showing why we should begin looking at the economies that some like me, had not considered keenly in the past.

And as a country, we better ensure that the economy is doing well because investors are looking for robust economies, not just economies. One of the greatest things bringing economic shifts is the component of macroeconomic stability. Depriving consumers of their purchasing power is very detrimental and the effects have a ripple effect on government spending and the stability of the private sector segment.

Other things such as well-calculated investments, especially as can be Rwanda and Ethiopia are powerful areas of interest making those economies attractive. Rwanda adds a greater sense of openness, strengthened government institutions, and accountability.

Tanzania in recent years has been doing well too in terms of investments and political stability. All these aspects put together are responsible for the economic growth being experienced in those economies and mean a shift in focus within the region.

Rwanda is a destination of choice for a lot of us. The environmental conservation strides made by the country’s leader and the residents have made Kigali a place to go for benchmarking. Affordable housing is another economic progress that Rwanda is making great progress on.

Ethiopia needs to do something about her national unity and cohesion and leadership stability. But overall, the progress is worth noting.

What we should now begin to tackle is a point I am having a special focus on. It is the same point that Fuje and Yao note in their article title. Yes, economic progress is being experienced and countries like Kenya have done some big but prior strides, yet we need to bridge the gap in inequity and inequality in terms of economic power among the masses.

That, we shall explore next week. In a nutshell, thumbs up to the robust economies on this first stage of progress. Next focus on filling in the gaps.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Policy, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring, promotions or support write to us at ndegegeoffrey@gmail.com

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