WITH 2021 approaching fast, the East African region is set to attract even more investors due to the conducive environment in promoting investments.
In recent years, there have been concerted efforts by the East African Community (EAC) partner states to improve the investment climate in the region.
The Rand Merchant Bank (RMB)'s 'Where to Invest in Africa' report that assesses the attractiveness of 53 African countries, in terms of being attractive for investments on the African continent shows that EAC partner states are increasingly becoming preferred destinations for investors.
RMB attractive index assesses the most appealing investment destination based on four aspects - those are the business index; global competitiveness index; corruption perception and economic freedom index.
RMB ranked three of the EAC partner states (Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania) in the top seven in its 2019 report. Tanzania ranked 7th in both 2018 and 2017, Rwanda ranked 6th from 8th and Kenya 5th from 6th in 2017.
Uganda ranked 14th from 11th in 2017. The various investment reforms undertaken by the partner states have led to the increase in the attractiveness of the EAC region.
Recently, EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko spoke positively of the progress made by the EAC in four pillars of integration namely the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.
He said the Community had made great strides in the four pillars due to the political goodwill of its leaders and the support from different development partners.
In its 'EAC Investment Guide', the EAC Secretariat parades that in covering 140 economies, 'The Global Competitiveness Index 4' measures national competitiveness–defined as a set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity.
The Global Competitiveness Index captures the determinants of long-term growth and provides novel and more nuanced insights on the factors that will grow in significance as the 4IR gathers pace: human capital, innovation, resilience and agility.
These qualities are captured through a number of new, critically important concepts, such as entrepreneurial culture, companies embracing disruptive ideas, multi stakeholder collaboration, critical thinking, meritocracy and social trust. Also complemented more traditional components such as ICT and physical infrastructure, macro-economic stability, property rights and years of schooling.
According to FDI Intelligence, East Africa is the third largest region in Africa, outpacing West Africa due to its consistent strong five per cent GDP growth (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania).
As a collective hub, the four countries enjoy an economy worth 185bn US dollars as follows; Kenya (88bn US dollars), Tanzania (58bn US dollars), Uganda (29bn US dollars) and Rwanda (10bn US dollars). The population of these KURT countries is more than 150 million according to EY analysis, 2019.
Further on the ease of doing business, the 'Doing Business Report 2020' ranked Burundi 166th in 2019 from 168th in 2018, Kenya 56th in 2019 from 61st in 2018, Rwanda 38th in 2019 from 29th in 2018, South Sudan 185th which maintained the same ranking as in 2018, Tanzania 141st in 2019 from 144th in 2018 and Uganda 116th in 2019 from 127th in 2018 out of 190 economies and selected cities at the sub national and regional level.