The East Africa Economic Outlook 2019 is a follow-up report to the African Development Bank's Africa Economic Outlook report launched in January 2019. It analyzes economic growth, its drivers and its implications for social development, including poverty, employment and inequality as well as progress in regional integration in East Africa.
East Africa is leading the continent with gross domestic product (GDP) growth estimated at 5.7 percent in 2018. Economic growth across Eastern Africa will remain at a robust 5.9 percent in 2019, making it a promising investment and manufacturing destination. Within the region, Ethiopia has the fastest growing economy with a predicted 8.2 percent growth for 2019, followed by Rwanda (7.8%), Tanzania (6.6%), Kenya (6%), Djibouti (5.9%) and Uganda (5.3%).
The report finds that there are numerous drivers of—and hence opportunities for—regional integration in East Africa, including considerable unexploited potential in trade, underexploited cross-border transport corridors between landlocked and coastal member countries, endorsement by 44 African countries of the agreement to establish the Continental Free Trade Agreement, the necessity of regional peace and security that emanates from the large number of fragile states in the region, the recent discovery of natural resources, and substantial informal cross-border trade. Yet, there remains a lack of complementarities in trading, low competitive position of countries to supply goods in the region, institutional capacity weakness to advance regional integration, and failure to address political issues related to regional integration. East Africa will need to address these areas to benefit from regional integration and to advance intra-Africa trade to promote sustainable economic growth and development in member countries.