The Evolving Structure of East Africa’s Economies

A look at how the regions’ economic structure is evolving over time – the shares of agriculture, industry and services in the overall economy – provides some early insight into how the fruits of growth might be shared among the citizens of the region. The following analysis on a national level
is concluded by a simple but revealing aggregation at the regional level.

Between 2006 and 2011, the share of agriculture in Burundi’s economy shrank by a substantial twelve percentage points from 48.4 per cent to 36.4 per cent. Industrial output expanded its share of the economy from 10 per cent to almost 15 per cent, while that of services jumped from 41 per
cent to almost 49 per cent. It is interesting to note that in 2011, the services sector has as large a share of Burundi’s economy as the agricultural sector did just seven years earlier.

In 2012, the service sector accounted for 47 per cent of Kenya’s economy, marginally lower than it was in 2005. Agriculture’s share of the economy expanded from 24 to 26 per cent between 2005 and 2012, while that of industry shrank from 17 per cent to 15.4 per cent during the same period.
Surprisingly, the share of industry in Kenya’s economy was the lowest in East Africa in 2012.

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