KIGALI, RWANDA-- Eastern Africa continues to grow rapidly and its per capital income has doubled in a decade, according to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Thus, the sub-region's average per capita income reached 740 US dollars in 2016; double the figure ten years earlier, the official website of UNECA reports.

A policy dialogue to exchange views on progress and challenges in the Eastern Africa sub-region was organized in Kigali Thursday with the UNECA acting Director for the Eastern Africa Office, Andrew Mold, saying albeit from a very low base, this is the result of sustaining rates of economic growth considerably higher than African or global averages over the period.

We should not fool ourselves; the region still needs to confront some serious developmental challenges if it is to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030-but in general the people of eastern Africa now live longer and healthier, receive better education, and enjoy an improved quality of life compared with just a generation ago," he stressed.

According to a new ECA report, entitled "Macroeconomic and Social Developments in Eastern Africa 2018", despite the marked improvements, growth in the sub-region is still fragile. In particular, the development of the manufacturing sector in eastern Africa has been lagging behind, limiting job creation and holding back technological progress.

The report noted that other than in Ethiopia, which has implemented an ambitious programme of export-oriented industrial parks, government policies have not thus far managed to promote robust growth in the manufacturing sector.

Moreover, the report highlighted the need to improve the business environment in eastern Africa. Private sector development has been relatively lacklustre and the bulk of productive investments are still accounted for by the public sector.

The eastern Africa sub-region comprises Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.