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Regional Value Chains in East Africa: Summary Report

Since the mid-1990s, many East African nations have enjoyed relatively high economic growth rates and made substantial progress in poverty reduction. Nevertheless, firm productivity remains low across sectors, and the region remains highly dependent upon foreign aid as a source of foreign exchange. Therefore, in spite of current optimism, it is not certain that East Africa will continue to grow without substantial transformations in regional networks of production and trade. Within this context, academics and decision-makers in the public and private sectors have considered the potential for regional integration to drive growth. However, even as organizations such as the East African Community (EAC) and TradeMark East Africa have sought to promote greater integration, a number of obstacles remain in the realms of policy, infrastructure, and productive capacity.