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
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.
Guinea-Bissau is one of Africa’s richest countries when it comes to natural resource endowment. Beyond having great biodiversity, its soil is fertile and hosts a multitude of minerals. Also, in addition to known and visible timber and fishing resources, it has been known for the past 40 years that there are significant deposits of bauxite, phosphates and heavy sand in the country.
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.
Guinea-Bissau’s categorization as a “Fragile state” by many donors and development partners largely mirrors the status of its financial sector. Although it has gone a long way since its complete collapse in the aftermath of the 1998/99 civil war, the financial system is still underdeveloped: in 2013, financial intermediation accounted for about 4% of GDP in 2013 (AfDB, 2014), banking penetration in the country is below 1% of the population and Access to finance is cited as the second most important constraint for business operations behind political instability (80.6%) at par with electricity (75.7%).
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.