Impact of private sector credit on economic growth in the East African Community
Okoth, Mercy Anyango
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The levels of credit extended to the private sector by banks is considered as an important factor when measuring the extent of financial development of a country. Credit extended to the private sector by banks is considered more efficient approach to support the development of economies compared to extension of credit to the public sector. In countries where the government through the public sector dominates in terms of receipt of credit, the private sector experiences challenges funding its investments though credit. In this study, vector error correction model has been applied, on annual panel data from 1988 to 2015 to investigate the relationship between credit extended to the private sector by commercial banks and economic growth in the EAC member states. This study focused only on Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania due to data availability. Other control variables used were; government expenditure, inflation and interest rates. The results show that bank credit to the private sector has a positive impact on the economic growth in the EAC in the long run. Interest rates, inflation and government expenditure also have a significant impact of the gross domestic product of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The EAC member countries have implemented reforms aiming to achieve macroeconomic convergence before the on-coming East African Monetary Union, thus the expected empirical results show that policy makers in the EAC should focus on long run policies to promote economic growth such as innovations in the banking and financial markets in order to increase the private sector credit and maximize on the benefits of regional integration.