State of East Africa Report 2012 stirs debate on greater regional integration

The Society for International Development (SID) released ‘The 2012 State of East Africa Report: Deepening Integration, Intensifying Challenges’ on 24 April 2012 in Dar es Salaam. The annual report compares cultural, economic, political, social and technological trends across the five East African Community countries (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda). The report’s objectives are to inform, provide insight, spark imagination and be a tool for engagement. 

Findings include the fact that while all East African nations surpassed the 100 percent gross enrollment rate for primary school, the majority did not proceed to secondary school. Kenya had the highest rate at a dismally low 45 percent. The report also highlights findings from the Uwezo report, of low literacy and numeracy rates among primary school students in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

But there is plenty of good news too.  For example, mobile phone subscriptions in the region jumped from 3 million in 2002 to 64 million in 2010. By September 2011 99 percent of Kenyan internet users accessed it via their mobiles, while 45 percent did in Tanzania.

The report shared findings from the Center for Economic Prosperity study on how roadblocks are a hindrance to improving the business environment in Tanzania. The Twaweza supported monitoring exercise revealed that on a single trip, a truck was stopped an average of 10 times within Tanzania, only once in Burundi and never in Rwanda.

Former Secretary General of the East African Community and Twaweza Advisory Board member, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, was at the launch and said that there are many advantages to increased integration in the region.

The report is a great resource for East Africans, pulling data from various sources into one document. Yet, with little strategic punch, Twaweza Head Rakesh Rajani recommended a different approach for next year: a ‘State of Imagination’ report. Twaweza is also considering teaming up with SID to translate the report into Kiswahili and print more copies to enable wider distribution and debate. Discussion from the launch of the report can be viewed at #SoEAR2012 on Twitter.

Read more: East Africa



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