East Africa: Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward


These audio and slides are from the basis of an hour-long briefing by Njoki Wamai and Tom Gray on 22 March 2017.

Preview of the video-slideshow:


In particular the presentation addressed:

  • A general overview of the political, security and economic situation
  • The rise of the developmental state in Tanzania
  • What would Magufuli do? Tanzania after Magufuli prospects
  • Al-Shabaab and the security implications in Kenya and Uganda
  • Impact of infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) and the LAPSSET corridor
  • Kenya’s ‘winner takes all’ politics and Uganda’s ‘movementocracy’ prospects
  • Prospects of the 2017 elections in Kenya


The following text sets the context in which the briefing was given. 

Most East African countries have registered increased economic growth and investment in the last decade with visible large infrastructure projects. However, in spite of the often lauded ‘Africa Rising’ narrative, increasing income inequalities and security threats continue to impede governance and development. This presentation hopes to highlight East Africa’s progress and challenges towards prosperity.

Njoki Wamai is a Gates Cambridge Scholar who has recently completed a PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She focused on the politics of intervention in Kenya with regards to the International Criminal Court. Njoki has previously worked in governance, security and development think tanks and charities in Kenya as a researcher. She has consulted for the United Nation’s Development Programme and the Women’s entity, UNIFEM on youth and women’s inclusion. She is a contributor of leading Kenyan dailies and online blogs such as the This is Africa, Pambazuka News and the Huffington Post. She is an alumnus of the University of Nairobi and King’s College London.

Tom Gray is Menas Associates’ Regional Analyst for Sub-Saharan Africa. In this role, he manages and edits all SSA publications; recruits authors and consultants; and writes analysis pieces on events in the region. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and an MPhil in African Studies from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on politics, conflict and law. Tom’s interests in Africa stem from his work and travel in Tanzania. Burundi is his particular country of interest, along with eastern Africa, South Sudan, the Great Lakes region, and Nigeria more generally. Tom has expertise on the African Union and its security and developmental role on the continent. He speaks basic French and Swahili.


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