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The East African Community Eyes Better Railway and Roads

Tuesday May 31, 2011

Citizens of East Africa can expect increased economic activity that should improve their per capita income and wellbeing following the allocation of sh259b ($109.7m) in the 2011/2012 budget.

This is a 41% or $32.1m increase from the $77.6m in the previous year. Although it may not correctly indicate wealth distribution, per capita income or income per person shows the economic well-being. It is the total income of the country divided by the population.

The per capita income of East Africans has risen from $402 to $571 between 2005 and 2009, according to figures from the EAC database.

On the other hand, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the East African Community (EAC) trade bloc has increased from $46.5b to $74.5b over the same period.

The 2011/2012 budget with the theme: “Implementation of the common market and laying the foundation for a monetary union,” comes at a time when the processes to establish an East African monetary union is picking pace.

The negotiations of the monetary union commenced in Arusha, Tanzania in January this year. Significant ground has been covered, including agreement on the structure of the monetary union.

The first five provisions of the draft monetary union; that is the preamble, interpretations, establishment, objectives and principles of the monetary union, have been agreed on.

Top on the agenda of the region is infrastructure, energy development and industrialisation, plus ensuring that the monetary union takes shape and it is not delayed.

According to the figures, about 67% of the total budget is development expenditure, while 19% will go to personal emoluments and another 15% to recurrent expenditure.

A communiqué from the EAC indicates that over the next three years, focus will be on implementation of the EAC common market protocol for which $10m has been provided in the budget and the conclusion of the EAC monetary union protocol for which $1.6m has been provided.

About $1.6m has been allocated to deepening co-operation in defence, security and political matters, while the promotion of agriculture and food security and the implementation of the climate change action plan will receive $604,260.

The promotion of regional and multi-lateral trade will get $3,1m, while $9.4m was allocated for the expansion of regional infrastructure.

The budget was read as the EAC welcomed its new secretary general Dr. Richard Sezibera, replacing ambassador Juma Mwapachu.

Ambassador Mwapachu, has been hailed as having left a legacy of highly respectful and resourceful relations with the region’s development partners and preparedness to position East Africa among the fast-modernising regions of the world.

By Agnes Nantambi : The New Vision Newspaper

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