African economies assesses: AfDB focuses on West Africa

The African Development Bank has expanded its flagship publication, the African Economic Outlook, with five regional reports.

The regional economic studies were released in Tunis (North Africa), Abidjan (West and Central Africa), Nairobi (Eastern Africa) and Pretoria (Southern Africa).

Celestin Monga, Chief Economist and Vice President AfDB’s Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, said ‘By offering regional approaches for the first time, we want to leverage the Bank’s expertise and give more depth of analysis and relevance to this publication.

‘The integration of specific reports for each region reflect the importance the Bank’s focus on the regional dimensions of development and inclusive growth in Africa,’ said Mohamed El Azizi, Director General of the North Africa Region.

The report said after several good years, economic growth in West Africa stagnated at 0.5% in 2016.

The decline in the price of raw materials and the unimpressive performance of Nigeria, which alone accounts for about 70% of the sub region’s GDP, were some of the key factors identified as responsible for stagnation.

Economic growth in West Africa rebounded to 2.5% in 2017 and is projected to rise to 3.8% in 2018 and 3.9% in 2019.

It said household consumption and the relative price recovery of certain materials were expected to contribute to this performance.

Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, Deputy Director General of the African Development Bank for West Africa, identified job creation, especially for young people as the big challenge for the sub-region.

‘The 2018 Regional Economic Outlook for West Africa presents a comprehensive analysis of the economy and the labour market of 15 countries, focusing on macroeconomic stability, employment and poverty of the population living in West Africa. Let us not forget that some of the countries in this sub-region are facing enormous security challenges, ‘ it stated.

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