EAST AFRICA: FY 2010 Implementation Plan

1.INTRODUCTION

The countries in eastern Africa have some of the highest poverty and hunger rates in the world. In a number of countries (Burundi, DRC, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi and Rwanda), the proportion of the population living on less than one dollar a day has increased since 1990.

Although national economic growth in many countries has been positive, the average poverty rate in the region of 20 countries increased from 51.4% in 1990 to 55.8% in 2008.1 Of the approximately 200 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania, about 78 million, or 40%, were classified as poor in 2008. In Burundi, DRC, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia, more than half of the population lives below national poverty lines and are chronically food insecure. In addition, acute food emergencies requiring food aid and other kinds of safety nets to deal with acute malnutrition have been occurring more frequently over the past two decades, affecting increasing numbers of people.

Agriculture is a core economic sector for all of the countries in eastern Africa, contributing at least 30% of GDP and employing over 60% of the population. The largest numbers of the poor are in rural areas, their incomes limited by low productivity and poor market access. Many poor rural households are characterized by a low asset base, small farm size, depleted soil fertility, limited investment in improved inputs, and very limited access to services and information.