Economist Ramathan Ggoobi has said that President Yoweri Museveni has done extremely well and deserves the classification, among national leaders who have individually had a positive effect on economic growth of their countries.
According to a research paper by New York University Economist Professor William Easterly and World Bank Economist Steven Pennings, Museveni, has made a substantial contribution to Uganda’s economic growth. The study titled: “Shrinking Dictators: how much economic growth can we attribute to national leaders,” was presented and discussed at a conference in New York on Monday.
The study shows that Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is ranked number 12 on the list of 46 leaders who have individually had a positive economic growth effect in their respective countries. He is ranked above famous leaders such as Lee Kuan Yew who transformed Singapore from a third to first world country and Park Chung-hee who had a significant impact of South Korea’s economic transformation.
Ggoobi told this publication that it possible for Museveni to outrank other equally good leaders because he has developed a country that previously had bad leaders.
However, Ggoobi says there are other questions that must be probed such as a growth that hasn’t been transformational or created jobs. He argues that the Museveni era growth has engendered inequality and has not improved social economic indicators such as household income, health and education.
The study considered 762 leaders who had or have had a tenure of at three years. On the opposite side, Ida Amin is listed among leaders who individually had a negative effect on the economic growth of their countries with a -3.38 percent score.
Apart from Museveni, first president of Botswana, Seretse Khama is the only other leader of an African country estimated to have had a positive effect on economic growth of their respective countries. Khama who ruled Botswana from 1966 to 1980 has an impressive score of 3.83 percent and ranked second on the list.
Museveni and Khama scored higher than East Asia leaders, according to the study because of the outstanding performance of their countries in a conflict-ridden Africa that has had a less growth rate compared to Asia.
“Because growth under the typical Asian leader was 2 percentage points higher than the typical African leader, the typical Asian leader needs to achieve raw growth 2 percentage points faster than the typical African leader to be allocated the same leader effect.
So for example, leaders like Seretse Khama of Botswana and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda out rank Lee Kuan Yew in part because they did well relative to the lower average regional growth in sub-Saharan Africa compared to East and South Asia,” the study says.
The economists say, the study’s main finding “is that it is surprisingly difficult to confirm statistically significant positive or negative leader growth effects for individual leaders.”
The economist further state: “We confirm significant positive or negative leader effects for less than 50 out of around 750 leaders with tenure of at least 3 years (around 6 percent of leaders). Many of these are little known, forgotten, or surprising stars or villains.”