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West Africa Economic Outlook 2018


The West Africa Economic Outlook presents a comprehensive economic analysis of the 16 countries in this region, focusing on growth, macroeconomic stability and employment, structural change, and poverty reduction. It provides estimates for 2017 and projections for 2018 and 2019. A second part of the outlook examines the labor market in more detail. Average GDP growth in West Africa stalled in 2016, after several strong years, to 0.5 percent. It rebounded in 2017 to 2.5 percent, and was projected to rise to 3.8 percent in 2018 and 3.9 percent in 2019. Countries’ performance varied, but because Nigeria contributes about 70 percent of regional GDP, its patterns largely shape regional ones. The service sector’s share in the economy is the largest in most countries, and manufacturing’s share is the smallest in all of them. Demand in the economies comes primarily—70 percent on average—from private consumption, but gross capital formation is expected to be the fastest growing area of demand in the next couple of years. To reduce vulnerability to external shocks threatened by the dependence of several economies, especially Nigeria, on oil or other mineral extraction, West Africa must increase domestic input into its products through manufacturing, especially processing minerals and agricultural products.

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