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

09Nov2016

Seeking to develop new sources of growth in Liberia

An August 2014 blog post during the escalation of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) epidemic in Liberia considered how, beyond the health crisis, the outbreak was having a significant impact on Liberia’s economy. Two years down the line, the threat of the virus has receded, yet the economy is facing other challenges, most prominently the drop in commodity prices. The country is at a critical juncture where it should increase attention on enabling the private sector to drive inclusive growth. This post is the first of a short series dedicated to Liberia to discuss some of the issues involved in the process.


06Sep2016

Industrialization in West Africa (3): Giving rise to a “Made in Africa” regional industry?

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.


26Aug2016

Understanding Public-Private-Partnerships in Guinea-Bissau

Although Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are often hailed as one the best options for infrastructure development, there appears to be surprisingly little understanding amongst policymakers of what they actually entail. This is even more so in situations of fragility. In a recent policy paper published under the West Africa Policy Notes series of the African Development Bank, I undertook to highlight what are the advantages and pitfalls of PPPs in the context of Guinea-Bissau and provide recommendations on the best course of action for pursuing development in the country


25Aug2014

Challenges of providing efficient banking services in a fragile environment: The case of Guinea-Bissau

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%).


20Jun2014

Building commodity trade infrastructure in West Africa: bringing “price” back to its source

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.


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