Charting the Course for Prosperity – East Africa’s Economic Outlook 2024 and EABC’s Strategic Initiatives

Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, the esteemed Executive Director/CEO of the East African Business Council (EABC), has recently unveiled the much-anticipated East Africa Economic Outlook for 2024 alongside the council’s strategic initiatives for the year. Amidst a global landscape of economic uncertainties and challenges, the EAC emerges not only as a resilient bloc but also as a region poised for remarkable growth and development.

A Resilient Economy in a Time of Global Economic Recalibration

The global economic narrative for 2024 paints a picture of cautious optimism, with a marginal slowdown anticipated, from 3.0 percent in 2023 to 2.9 percent in 2024. This projection, set against the backdrop of escalating global crises, such as conflicts and climate change, hints at a possible constriction in exports and foreign direct investments worldwide. However, the East African Community, under the stewardship of the EABC and insightful directives from leaders like Mr. Kalisa, is navigating these turbulent waters with strategic acumen and collective resilience.

East African Community: A Beacon of Growth and Stability

According to the World Economic Outlook (IMF 2023), the EAC is on a trajectory of substantial economic growth, projected to hit 5.93% in 2024. This robust growth is not uniformly distributed but rather highlighted by remarkable performances from member countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, both expecting a stellar growth rate of 7.0%. This regional growth notably surpasses the Sub-Saharan African average, underscoring the EAC’s economic vitality and the effectiveness of its collaborative policies.

Inflation and Monetary Stability: A Positive Outlook

Inflation, often the Achilles’ heel of emerging economies, is on a downward trend within the EAC. Member countries are expecting a reduction in inflation rates, contributing to an atmosphere of financial stability and economic predictability. This is a testament to the prudent fiscal and monetary policies adopted by the member states, in alignment with the EABC’s overarching economic strategies.

Strengthening Internal Trade and Manufacturing: The Intra-EAC Focus

A key focus area, as outlined by Mr. Kalisa, is bolstering intra-EAC trade, which has shown resilience and recovery, growing by 11.2 percent to US$10.9 billion in 2022. The ambition to elevate intra-EAC trade from 15 percent to 30 percent of total global trade encapsulates the region’s commitment to enhancing manufacturing productivity, diversification, and competitiveness. The remarkable increase in Manufacturing Value Added across member countries underscores this commitment, although the quest to elevate the manufacturing GDP share to 25% by 2032 remains a formidable challenge.

EAC’s Strategic Expansion and Geopolitical Significance

The admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the EAC fold marks a significant milestone, expanding the market and enhancing the region’s strategic and geopolitical significance. This expansion is not merely a numerical increase but a broadening of the horizon for trade, cultural exchange, and collective security within the region.

Facing Challenges Head-On: Geopolitical Tensions and Climate Change

Mr. Kalisa candidly addresses the challenges on the horizon, including geopolitical tensions, regional conflicts, and the pervasive threat of climate change. These challenges, significant as they may be, are met with a proactive and strategic response, emphasizing the need for investment in human capital, economic diversification, technological innovation, and environmental sustainability.

EABC’s 2024 Roadmap: Bolstering Trade for Prosperity

The EABC’s theme for the year, “Bolstering Trade for Prosperity,” reflects a proactive approach to fostering business and investment ties within the EAC. The council’s calendar is packed with initiatives ranging from webinars on sustainable agriculture to high-level conferences like the East Africa Manufacturing Summit 2024. This comprehensive suite of activities and programs is designed to empower businesses, enhance trade competencies, and solidify the EAC’s position on the global economic stage.

According to Word Economic Outlook (IMF 2023), the East African Community (EAC) is poised for 5.93% Economic Growth in 2024.

CountryProjected GDP Growth 2023 (%)Projected GDP Growth 2024 (%)
South Sudan3.54.0

Inflation All EAC countries are also expected to witness reductions in inflation, indicating a positive outlook for price stability. Tanzania is set to maintain stability with a projected inflation rate of 4.0%, while Burundi anticipates a decline from 13.1% to 10.0%.

CountryProjected Inflation 2023 (%)Projected Inflation 2024 (%)
Kenya7.5 6.5
Rwanda 10.5 9.0
South Sudan8.97.5
Tanzania 4.44.0

Manufacturing: The Manufacturing Value Added for EAC Countries has increased by 88.11% from $2.5106 billion USD in 2010 to $4.725 billion USD 2022.

Country              2010 MVA (current US$) 2022 MVA (current US$) 
DRC     $3.5 billion           $9 billion              
Kenya                  $5 billion              $8.1 billion          
Uganda                    $5.2 billion           $7.5 billion          
Tanzania              $2.8 billion           $7.5 billion           
Rwanda                $505.7 million         $1.3 billion          
Burundi               $187.9 million              $269.3 million         
 South Sudan$340 million$424 million *2015 

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