The common market will become effective from July, 1, this year, freeing the movement of goods and services within the region. Photo/FILE By JEFF OTIENO Thursday, May 27 201 East Africa is expected to register the highest economic growth in the continent in the next two years, the latest economic outlook report states. The African Economic Outlook report, which monitors the continents growth, says the region comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi is expected to register a six per cent growth in the period 2010/2011. Launched at the annual meeting of the boards of governors of the African Development Bank Group, early this week in Abidjan Cote dIvoire, the report cites the region as the best example in weathering the global crisis of 2008-2009 that seriously affected giant economies in Europe and America. North Africa and West Africa, the report says, will grow at an average of five per cent, while Southern and Central Africa will expand at an average of four per cent. The information will be good news to the East African Community member states, which recently signed a common market protocol that aims at liberalising trade in the region. The common market will become effective from July, 1, this year, freeing the movement of goods and services within the region. The report cites prudent macro policies, prior to the downturn, for the success in East Africa and other regions. Debt relief This, together with sustained aid flows, earlier debt relief and loans by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank, provided space for adopting counter-cyclical policies that cushioned against the impact of the crisis. Nonetheless, policy challenges remain, said Mr Leonce Ndikumana, director, Development Research Department at the African Development Bank. Mr Ndikumana cautioned that the prospect of a moderate recovery in a number of African countries made it even more pressing to address the structural problems that existed before the global crisis, that had led to high poverty levels. Despite the positive projection, last year, the report says, Africas export volumes declined by 2.5 per cent and import volumes by eight per cent. Sectors such as mining and manufacturing were particularly exposed to the fall of commodity prices and global trade in goods and services, the report adds.