Browsing: East Africa

People board public transport at the New Taxi Park in Kampala, Uganda, Jan. 1, 2022. (Photo by Nicholas Kajoba/Xinhua) https://theexchange.africa/

Uganda Bureau of Statistics has indicated that the country’s inflation has for the first time since 2012 hit double digits, rising to 10 per cent in September 2022 from 2.7 per cent in January 2022 and 4.9 per cent in April 2022.

It is said that inflation above an annual average of 5 per cent retards economic growth and derails economic development.

According to an article titled Uganda grapples with soaring inflation amid persistent global uncertainties, the rise in inflation has been brought about by issues such as tightening of global financial conditions, which triggered investors’ exit from the domestic debt market, thus stoking depreciation pressures on the Uganda Shilling; the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which disrupted global production and supply chains; extended drought in some regions of the country; and increased global commodity prices.

Kenya is one of 23 African nations at risk of debt distress. The major causes of debt distress include poor fiscal management and macroeconomic frameworks to sustain growth, a shift in debt structure toward more costly financing sources, and excessive government expenditure levels.

Kenya’s debt was at about 70 per cent of GDP in 2021, up from 50 per cent in 2015. China is Kenya’s biggest bilateral creditor. It accounts for 67 per cent of the bilateral debt (primarily for infrastructure projects), an increase from 13 per cent in 2011.

According to the World Bank, skilled workers enhance the quality and efficiency of product development, production, and maintenance and supervise and train workers with lesser skills. As a matter of fact, countries with well-established TVET systems tend to enjoy lower youth unemployment.

This is because the orientation of TVET coupled with the acquisition of employability skills allows it to address issues such as skills mismatch that has impeded smooth school-to-work transitions for many young people. Lower youth unemployment is key to improving lives and building stronger communities necessary for growth.

There is no doubt that Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are leading their East African counterparts in promoting technical skills training in their respective countries.

East Africa has made huge strides in improving the tourism sector in the bloc. So far, three countries have embraced the Single Tourist visa making it easier for the bloc to market it as a single destination as well as allowing tourists access to all three countries from one visa.

The single tourist visa was introduced in 2014 as a pilot between Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda. Under the initiative, tourists can choose between a single-country visa or an EAC tourist visa. With the latter, they are allowed to move freely between the three countries for a period of up to 90 days.

In October 2020, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) released a report citing the tourism situation in the region.

The EALA noted that certain overriding challenges, including sector underfunding, insecurity, and lack of harmonized policies and laws, need to be speedily addressed to ensure that the sector thrives.

Lake Victoria’s fisheries support more than 3 million livelihoods and bring in US$500 million in revenues annually.

Nile Perch is the main fish caught in Lake Victoria. Fish maw – the air sack that aids the Nile Perch in floating and a Chinese delicacy – has been a major export source. Statistics from the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture indicate an increase in fish maw exports earning from US$27m in 2015, to US$31m in 2016, US$48m in 2017 and US$52m in 2018. These earnings exclude the earnings from Nile Perch and its eggs.

However, the lake has been invaded by water hyacinth – the floating, green mats of waxy leaves with purple blossoms – depriving the waters below of oxygen which makes it hard for aquatic life to survive.

That, plus overfishing which occurs when fishermen use undersized nets that catch fish before they reach maturity, rapid population growth, and pollution by wastewater, agro-pesticides and fertilisers threaten the future of fishing in Lake Victoria.

South Sudan and Djibouti have signed an MoU to lay fibre optic cable from Djibouti to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, via Ethiopia. Djibouti’s fibre optic is not the first telecommunications infrastructure that South Sudan is connecting to. In January 2020, Liquid Intelligent Technologies (LIT) announced the installation of a 200km fibre backbone to connect the Uganda border to Juba.

Authorities believe additional data capacity will enable the country to successfully implement its digital transformation strategy by making broadband internet connectivity more affordable. South Sudanese officials said the agreement would ensure that region is connected to the international community and reduce the high cost of the internet.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Information, Communication Technology and Postal Services said South Sudanese and Djibouti government officials would establish a technical committee to oversee the project.

Africa’s fast population growth exacerbates the issue. According to most estimates, Africa’s population will double by 2050 and then double again by 2100, finally reaching over 4 billion by the end of the century. Feeding Africa’s rising population will need considerable breakthroughs in the continent’s food systems.

However, agricultural progress may be difficult if African farmers are subjected to more severe climatic effects. To prepare for these future difficulties, one must understand how climate change will materialize in Africa and its impact on the continent’s agricultural systems.