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THE STATE OF EAST AFRICA REPORT SERIES

The State of East Africa Executive Report-2013

The concepts of ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘equity’ are normative, meaning that they are about ‘expressing value judgements or prescriptions’ on how things should or ought to be, how to value them, which things are good or bad, and which actions are right or wrong.
In this report, inclusiveness refers to how much the most disadvantaged East Africans are participating in the process of growing the region’s economy. From this perspective, focusing on an average metric such as per capita GDP, to evaluate inclusiveness leads to misleading conclusions.

Furthermore, average changes do not say anything about what is happening to the first and last person in the income distribution. Equity describes how the fruits of economic growth are shared among the region’s citizens. Recent analysis shows that inequality is really about the share of income that goes to the richest (top 10 per cent of the population) and the poorest citizens (bottom 40 per cent of the population). Simply stated, inequality is about what is happening at the tail ends of a country’s income distribution.

This report explores inclusiveness and equity in the context of the East African regional integration process. It aims to describe, analyse and understand the region from an inclusiveness perspective and to explore the dynamics that are influencing equity, in order to understand how the economic, social and political integration agenda might influence the equity dynamics at play in the region. East Africa’s population in mid-2012 was estimated at 144 million people, representing an increase of five million from 139 million in 2010. Birth registrations in East Africa are low. The percentage of registered births among East Africa’s poorest households indicate that at best, a little over half of the children born into poor families are formally ‘invisible’.