Africa is undergoing tremendous economic and demographic transformation. The continent’s economic transformation features favourable GDP growth rates, with 6 of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies being Africans. Overall, East Africa is considered one of the fastest growing economic zones in Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), estimated at 5 to 7% per year. In addition, Africa is now the world’s second populous continent. Current estimate is that over 1 billion people lives in Africa, and that by the year 2050, Africa’s population will double, reaching 2.4 billion. At the end of the century, about 4.2 billion people will be living in Africa, nearly the size of the total world population in 1977.
These growths (economic and population) poses new challenges in a region already under huge energy, water, and sanitation infrastructure stress. Currently, access to energy in the East African countries is only about 27%, with a large proportion of the population dependent on biomass for energy. There is limited development of the vast sources of renewable energy resources in the region. Access to safe water and sanitation in East Africa remain very low; Tanzania only gained 5% increase in access improved sanitation over the last 25years. Gender disparity remains prevalent in East and Southern Africa, with women to men ratio in higher levels of education as low as 0.48 in Tanzania and 0.62 in Rwanda. It is evident from the above that inclusive growth in the continent will be dependent on the capacities of the African countries to unlock the potential of, and reap from their growing population.