The 2019 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group will be held from 11-14 June 2019, in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea. Find out more
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
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.
Following a remarkable post-conflict recovery in the early 2000s, Sierra Leone was on track to overcome its troubled past, especially after consistent double-digit growth seen over the past five years. The current Ebola epidemic and its overwhelming repercussions on livelihoods, and economic activity is threatening to halt that aspiration and end the positive trajectory of the small West African state.
Recent media attention has highlighted how Ebola has hit women the hardest and how the epidemic is threatening gains in gender equality made in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. On Aug. 14, the Washington Post reported that across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, collectively 55 to 60 % of those dead were women.