Optimism abounds as the economy, which shrunk for the first time in a decade last year, is projected to rebound by 3 percent in 2021.
This was revealed during the 25th session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa.
The meeting, attended by 100 decision-makers and experts, discussed how countries in the sub-region should strengthen resilience for a strong recovery and how to attract investments to foster economic diversification and long-term growth.
Speaking at the meeting, Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of the UNECA, stressed how in 2020, the economy of Eastern Africa shrunk for the first time in decades.
She said that the agricultural sector was not spared, facing weather-related shocks and the biggest desert locust invasion in 70 years.
“The region lost millions of jobs” she noted.
Songwe emphasized her optimism, saying that early projections suggest that the region’s economy will expand by 3% this year, with certain economies such as Djibouti, Eritrea, Rwanda and Uganda rebounding by over 4 percent.
She also noted the progress that had been made towards ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and affirmed ECA’s continued support to the implementation of national strategies.
Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda on the occasion highlighted how the regional economies had proven to be resilient with Africa recording the least economic contraction globally in 2020 at -1.7 percent.