A review of East African budgets: Somalia ‘lagging behind’

The Ministries of Finance in East African countries have presented their respective budgets.

The finance ministers of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda presented their 2019/20 budgets before their respective parliaments on Thursday, 13th June 2019.

At 30 billion US Dollars, Kenya’s budget is the highest in the region, followed by Tanzania at 14 billion US dollars, Uganda at 8.5 billion US dollars and Rwanda at 2.8 billion US dollars.

Somalia’s 2019/20 budget, which will be read at the end of the year, is expected to stand at 300 million US dollars.

Kenya’s budget exceeds the combined budgets of Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Somalia.

The combined populations of Tanzania (57.31m), Uganda (42.86m), Rwanda (12.21m) and Somalia (14.74m) total 127m. Kenya has a population of 49.7m.

Ethiopia, the most populous country in the region at 105m, has a budget of 12.8 billion US dollars, less than half of Kenya’s.

There is no question about the fact that Kenya is the region’s economic powerhouse.

One should then question how come Kenya is ahead of the rest of its neighbours?

Is it because of its democratic system? Is it attracting more investment through the respectability of its legal system and the independence of its judiciary?

Is it because Kenya is content to stay at its lane, having nothing to do with squabbling for influence outside its borders?

Is it because the rest of the world gives Kenya preference over its neighbors by financing it specifically?

Or is it because it prioritises its human capital with a more productive workforce? Maybe it is all the aforementioned plus others?

Whatever the reason, we took independence before Kenya. We helped it gain its independence.

We have to ask ourselves why we are lagging behind. Why is our budget 300 million while that of Kenya is 30 billion?