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Measuring the pulse of Economic Transformation in West Africa
Maxime Weigert is a regional economist in the West Africa Regional Department of the African Development Bank, focusing on knowledge management and regional integration.
He holds a PhD in economic geography from Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris and a Master's degree in geopolitics from Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. Prior to joining the Bank, he worked for five years as a research project manager at the Euro-Med think tank IPEMED (Institut de Prospective Economique du Monde Méditerranéen), specializing in the role of the tourism and industry production systems in regional integration, with a focus on North Africa.
As a consultant and as a researcher, he authored and published numerous articles and papers in both peer-reviewed journals and think tank policy series.
A first and a second blog post on the theme of “Industrialization in West Africa” took stock of industrial development in West Africa and presented some of the strategies that could boost industrialization in the region. While all the mentioned strategies are relevant, provided they are adequately implemented, this post has a focus on the regional value chains (RVCs) strategy, and will highlight the benefits from this model.
A previous post took stock of industrial development in West Africa. It was explained that at a time when the international community, including the African Development Bank, elevates industrialisation to a priority range for fighting poverty and exclusion, this process lags behind in the region. This post focuses on some of the strategies that could be implemented in order for the West African countries to move forward.
The demographic boom and urbanization in West Africa, coupled with growing demand for more inclusive growth, are key drivers of economic transformation in the region. Natural resources exploitation is no longer sufficient in order to meet employment and social inclusion expectations, particularly amongst youth.
Migrant remittances, namely the money migrants send to their countries of origin from their host countries, are increasingly significant for West Africa.
Whereas tourism is acknowledged as a driver of socio-economic development and growth in Africa, as evidenced in the last African Tourism Monitor, the 2015 edition of the annual report on competitiveness in travel and tourism, released in early May by the World Economic Forum (WEF), points out that West Africa lags behind when it comes to the travel sector. The ten West African countries assessed in the report all appear in the bottom half of the ranking. Cabo Verde, the top-ranked country from the region, ranks 86th out of 141. Guinea recorded the lowest score at 140th, securing the penultimate position in the overall ranking. The eight remaining West African countries are in the bottom quarter, among the least globally competitive countries in terms of tourism
A recent post discussed highlights from the African Economic Outlook 2015 (AEO) report, indicating a difficult scenario for the West African Region, but also some encouraging signs. Indeed, against all odds, the region has demonstrated a palpable dynamism.
An annual collaboration between the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD Development Centre and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Economic Outlook 2015 (AEO) was launched on May 25, 2015, during the AfDB Annual Meetings. The report provides an overview of the economic and social development of Africa and provides two-year projections.