6 September 2012

East Africa: Nation's Competitiveness Remains Low

TANZANIA competitiveness ranking has remained unchanged at 120th slot this year. Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013 issued shows position could be elevated but was affected by low-quality roads and ports and an unreliable power supply.

"Although primary education enrolment is commendably high, providing universal access, enrolment rates at the secondary and university levels are among the lowest in the world," the report indicates. A related area of concern was the low level of technological readiness in the country that stands at 122nd position with very low uptake of ICT namely Internet and mobile telephony.

"...The basic health of its workforce is also a serious concern; the country is ranked 113th in this area, with poor health indicators and high levels of diseases," the GCR, issued by World Economic Forum, shows. Previously before the survey was done Tanzania was expected to climb up some slots to 116th position but the projection was not materialised as expected.

While the country is tumbling at 120th positions, Rwanda moved up by seven places this year to 63rd position, continuing to the third place in the sub-Saharan African region -- behind South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th)."Other comparatively successful African countries, include Rwanda which has strong and relatively well-functioning institutions, with very low levels of corruption, " the report says.

Apart from Rwanda, all other East African economies' competitiveness ranking positions have dropped. Kenya is ranked 106th after it dropped four slots from 102nd of last year. Uganda also was in the same boat after it dropped to 123 positions from 121st slot last year while Burundi this year settled at 144 position compared to 140th of previous year.

The figure also shows that the region has registered a persistent and worrisome infrastructure deficit following global financial crisis that saw the quality and quantity of infrastructure largely stagnated at low levels since then.

However, removing this bottleneck would boost intra-regional trade and help the region to further diversify external trade, thereby making it more resilient to external shocks.

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