[Documents menu] Documents menu

Labour Unrest Derails Growth

By Jeff Otieno, The Nation (Nairobi), 6 October 2000

Nairobi - Kenya's poor economic performance has been attributed to deteriorating infrastructure and increased labour unrest.

This, says the UN Trade and Development Report 2000, has led to loss of investor confidence.

The report, entitled Global economic growth and imbalances, UNCTAD says Kenya's economic performance has been disappointing in recent years and needs to be reversed.

By contrast, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development says growth accelerated sharply in Uganda due, in part, to official debt relief, increased foreign direct investment and recovery in agriculture.

The organisation predicts that economic performance in East Africa would be moderate in the coming years.

"Despite uncertainties associated with its dependence on rain-fed agriculture, East Africa is expected to maintain a moderate pace of growth in the years ahead."

However, the report predicts the economic performance of some countries in the year 2000 and beyond will be affected by armed conflicts.

It says average growth rates in both East and North Africa in 1999 were significantly higher than in other regions.

"Relative to 1998, growth was lower in Central, North and West Africa, but higher in East and Southern Africa."

The organisation says continuing armed conflicts and civil unrest will be Africa's major undoing in terms of economic performance.

"Continuing armed conflict and civil unrest have severely undermined economic performance in a number of countries, notably great lakes region of Central Africa, and, as in Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict, contributed to poor performance in neighbouring countries," the document says.

Output growth in Africa in 1999, the organisation notes, was slightly lower than the 3.0 per cent attained in the previous two years, "barely keeping pace with the population growth".

According to the report, poor economic performance of the region in the past three years, proved that domestic and external conditions "are nowhere close to what is needed to produce the much hoped-for take-off into rapid and sustained growth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa".

Copyright 2000 The Nation. Distributed by allAfrica.com. For information about the content or for permission to redistribute, publish or use for broadcast, contact the publisher.