Life expectancy for Kenyans and Rwandans has increased by 8.5 years while the average life expectancy in East African region by 5.3 years over the past decade, this is according to data released by the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa.
The report also revealed that East Africa is the fastest growing population in Africa and among the leading ones globally with an an average growth rate of 6.7 per cent between 2013 and 2017.
Andrew Mold, the Ag Director of the ECA in Eastern Africa however reveals that the region is still faced with the challenges like unemployment amid the rapid population growth.
“Chief amongst them being the need for faster job creation for the rapidly growing population – but on balance progress has been impressive. Life expectancy is a good general indicator of living standards, and the pace of change is one of the fastest in history,” he said while presenting an overview of economic and social developments in the region at the 22nd meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts.
The EA region is expected to grow at 6.2 per cent in 2019 with the advent of public and private investement, renewed optimism and the opening up of new trade opportunities under the AFCFTA.
“ In many aspects, the Eastern Africa region has been leading continental trends – be it in terms of economic progress but also social – with life expectancy and other indicators improving a lot over the last decade,“ Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda, Uzziel Ndagijimana said.
Other challenges experienced in the region include impact of climate change on agricultural production rising debt levels in countries as well as insecurity.
ECA notes that Africa countries should come up with dynamic regional trading relations.
The three-day meeting takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, and gathers more than 250 economic stakeholders and decision makers of 14 countries in East Africa.