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’. East Africans are very young. The median age in East Africa – the age that divides the population into two equal halves above and below it – ranges from 15 years in Uganda to 19 years in Kenya and Rwanda.

Malnutrition in East Africa manifests itself most clearly in the 10 million East African children, 42 per cent of the region’s 24 million under-five who were stunted in 2010.

All East African countries have achieved the global target of 100 per cent gross enrolment at the primary school level. However, enrolment in secondary school is much lower at between 28 percent in Uganda and 49 per cent in Kenya as most children do not make the transition to secondary school. Uganda and Rwanda have the highest primary school leaving exam pass rates while Tanzanian and Kenyan students produced the worst results in East Africa. A far lower proportion (less than 30 per cent in 2012) of Kenyan and Tanzanian secondary school students pass their respective national exams compared to their peers in Rwanda and Uganda where more than 88 percent passed.