Business

Harvard: Uganda to Become Fastest Growing Economy in the World by 2025

The Project involves the construction of a green field largely dual carriageway expressway between Kampala and
Jinja
The proposed Kampala - Jinja Expressway is among the major infrastructure projects planned by the Ugandan government

Uganda and India top the list of the fastest growing economies to 2025, at 7.7 percent annually.

This is according to new growth projections presented by researchers at the Center for International Development at Harvard University (CID).

“Uganda joins three other East African countries in the top 10 fastest growing countries, though a significant fraction of that growth is due to rapid population growth,” the report reads in part.

Official national census (2014) statistics indicate the average annual population growth rate stands at 3.0 percent.

“On a per capita basis, Uganda is the only East African country that remains in the top 10 in the growth projections, though at 4.5 percent annually its prospects are more modest,” the report adds.

This revelation could ignite a huge public debate as several analysts have expressed fear the economy could be headed the worst due to the high electricity tariffs, poor infrastructure, indebtedness and an unpredictable political climate.

But Harvard University researchers say growth in emerging markets is predicted to continue to outpace that of advanced economies, though not uniformly.

The projections are optimistic about new growth hubs in East Africa and new segments of Southeast Asia, led by Indonesia and Vietnam.

The growth projections are based on measures of each country’s economic complexity, which captures the diversity and sophistication of the productive capabilities embedded in its exports and the ease with which it could further diversify by expanding those capabilities.

The growth projections highlight that economic growth fails to follow one easy pattern or rule system. The countries that are expected to be the fastest growing – India, Turkey, Indonesia, Uganda, and Bulgaria – are diverse in all political, institutional, geographic and demographic dimensions.

“What they share is a focus on expanding the capabilities of their workforce that leaves them well positioned to diversify into new products, and products of increasingly greater complexity,” said Timothy Cheston, a research fellow at CID.

The economic complexity growth projections differ from those of the IMF and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Relative to EIU predictions, CID researchers are less optimistic about a set of countries that include Bangladesh, Cambodia, Iran, Sri Lanka, and Cuba. Conversely, CID researchers have greater optimism for the growth prospects of Uganda, Guatemala, Mexico, Tanzania, and Brazil.

Uganda expects to produce oil by 2020 and has since signed agreements to kickstart construction of the oil pipeline from Hoima in Western Uganda to port Tanga in Tanzania.

The Government has embarked on a ten-year multibillion-dollar public infrastructure development projects, a move analysts including PwC say is critical for unlocking Uganda’s binding constraints to economic development in order to enable an economy to realize its full potential.

Total government expenditure for financial year 2017/18, net of lending is projected at 22.7% of GDP.

The bulk of this expenditure will go to development spending on scaling up public investment projects by Government.

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