Measuring the pulse of Economic Transformation in West Africa
West Africa is at the heart of Africa’s transformation. With a projected growth rate of 7.4 per cent in 2014, it is the fastest growing region in the continent. As many of its countries undergo a strong stabilization, emerge from conflict, or even rise to middle income status, the region begins to reap the fruits of its regional and global integration. A global demand for expert opinions and analysis is rising rapidly. Read More
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.
West African economies are large commodity producers and many of them are top suppliers worldwide. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana alone account for about 60% of the world’s cocoa production; Guinea-Bissau together with Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Senegal account for 40% of world cashew production, not to mention the importance of oil production in Nigeria alone.
Africa is on an unstoppable upwards trajectory. With growth forecast to reach 5.2 per cent in 2014, increasing investments and improvements across development indicators, it is now truly Africa’s moment. And West Africa is at the epicenter of this transformation: a GDP growth expected to exceed seven per cent in 2014, several countries rapidly emerging from conflict, others rising up to middle income status, better usage of the huge potential of natural resources available, and efforts for deeper integration beginning to bear their fruits and cementing this collaborative path.
- 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