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
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.
Several policy-makers have cautioned African countries to carefully learn lessons from the Greek debt crisis. Given the importance of debt sustainability to supporting economic growth in Africa, and elsewhere, a series of blog entries, aimed at promoting debate and distilling the key lessons of the Greek crisis that are applicable in West African countries, shall be posted in the coming weeks.
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.
Like most African economies, Nigeria faces the challenge of limited economic transformation and diversification. This is evident from the country’s specialization in less dynamic and low value added domestic activities and trading in the global system. The high share of manufacturing imports as a percentage of total merchandise imports in 2012 (71%) and the very low share of manufacturing exports as a percentage of total exports in the same year (2.9%) testify to the weak state of global value chains (GVC) in Nigeria. Furthermore, the total value addition in most sectors has been relatively weak (see Table 1). While the recently rebased GDP has shown mild economic diversification away from agriculture toward services, the economy continues to tilt in favour of the natural resources sector.
In 1991, Togo launched one of the first export processing zones (EPZ) in Africa to boost its economy in the Global value Chains (GVCs). The Togo EPZ is located on an area of 107 hectares along the country’s Atlantic seaport . The same year, the bestseller "The Work of Nations" was released , explaining how a Honda is more of an American car than those produced by General Motors or a Chrysler. The author, former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, wanted to raise awareness of the fact that “It's not where a product is made, but the place where the value is added that counts”. He complained about the case of the “Pontiac Le Mans”, a symbol of American pride, but produced with less than 40% value added in US. What can we say about products from Togo EPZ? Are they Togolese products?
- 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