Measuring the pulse of Economic Transformation in West Africa
Regional Chief Economist
Emanuele Santi is Regional Chief Economist for AfDB’s West African Department after nearly 15 years of professional experience in development, mostly gained at the World Bank and the African Development Bank. He has worked on over 25 countries in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He holds a PhD in Development Policy from Trieste University/ Paris Sorbonne, a Master in Economic Studies from the College of Europe and an Executive Program Degree on Public Financial Management from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
On Sunday, March 8, the world celebrated International Women’s Day. As a lead up to the event, the African Development Bank dedicated an entire week to raising awareness on gender issues.
Côte d’Ivoire’s victory against Ghana during the 2015 African Cup of Nations final was widely unexpected and regarded as a historic victory. The Elephants, the Ivorian national football team, were certainly not the favourite team, but surprised most observers with a repeat of their victory against Ghana 23 years ago, again on penalty kicks.
Ebola is certainly having some devastating effects on Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, but the ongoing narrative on the economic impact of Ebola may even create much more damage than those very adverse consequences it is intending to capture. At the recent World Bank Annual Meeting, shortly after the Bretton Woods institution released a study pointing to billions of potential losses due to the Ebola, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka rightly warned the world of the need to be careful about doomsday narratives.
The Ebola outbreak, which is ravaging West Africa, causing over 4,000 deaths, and has crossed the Atlantic infecting its first case in the United States and now Spain, is an immense tragedy. But it also serves as a reminder of the fundamental challenges of development in a weak institutional environment.
Last week I was asked to make a presentation on West Africa to a number of senior executives of large multinational companies, keen in investing in our region. In spite of the panic displayed by some media outlets and the occasional cancellation of conferences and football matches due to take place in the region because of Ebola, they came to Abidjan, at the heart of one of the continental success stories, to explore business opportunities.
As the largest-ever US-Africa gathering of leaders came to a close, the debate on the future of the US policy for Africa has once again resurfaced. While interesting suggestions are put forward by economists and other experts – this argument by the Center for Global Development on closing the energy gap is among the most interesting – it may however be judicious if, rather than hope for a new grand scheme to be implemented, we take a deeper look at the existing US economic policies and instruments towards Africa, and analyze their effect on the West African region.
The latest FAO Food Outlook Report, the organization’s biannual report on global food markets, points out to a new acceleration of food prices, namely wheat, meat and rice. This trend reverses the international food decline experienced in the past 10 months. This is particularly visible in the region’s key food items: wheat, rice, and traditional staples like millet, sorghum and cassava.
- KPMG Africa Blog
- UN Women, West and Central Africa
- The Trade Post | Making international trade work for development
- Institute for Security Studies: West Africa
- Oxfam: West Africa blog
- CGD Policy Blogs | Center For Global Development
- NEPAD blogs | NEPAD
- blogAfrica | allAfrica
- Baobab | The Economist
- United Nations Office for West Africa
- Nasikiliza | World Bank in Africa