You are here

Economic Transformation

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.

11 Jul 2019

Industrialisation in West Africa (2): global or regional strategies?

A previous post took stock of industrial development in West Africa. It was explained that at a time when the international community, including the African Development Bank, elevates industrialisation to a priority range for fighting poverty and exclusion, this process lags behind in the region. This post focuses on some of the strategies that could be implemented in order for the West African countries to move forward. Overall developments in the last decades, including trade liberalisation, international fragmentation of value chains, and the emergence of new industrialized countries in...
11 Jul 2019

Greek lessons for West Africa (II): Borrowing and the importance of intergenerational equality

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, this article is the second in 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. In the past five years, inclusive growth has become the “name of the game”: it is a central feature of the AfDB’s 2013-2022 Ten Year Strategy, as well as those of other development actors such as the World...
17 Jul 2017

Addressing infrastructure constraints to inclusive growth in Liberia

A previous post discussed some of the challenges Liberia is facing in the  light of weaker economic growth and how it should focus its efforts on improving the business environment, increasing productivity and value-added in agriculture, and attracting investment in non-extractive sectors.  A key part of this effort is to address Liberia’s severely inadequate energy and road infrastructure, which have been identified by various analyses[1] as a critical binding constraint to private sector development and diversification, as well as public service delivery. As such, the...
15 Mar 2017

Cabo Verde at a threshold: Changing growth paradigm

In 2010, the African Development Bank’s President applauded Cabo Verde for having achieved a “policy induced graduation” into the middle-income country group against all odds, as opposed to reaching it through a drive by natural resources. From 1995 to 2007, Cabo Verde’s real GDP growth rate averaged 7.2%, while the GDP per capita grew 5.1% a year over the same period. Good governance, political stability and sound economic policies have been the key ingredients to the country’s success. In achieving such success, a 2012 report by the AfDB entitled “Cabo Verde: the Road Ahead” identified...
25 Nov 2016

How to reverse the African propensity to import fish?

The African continent has 54 states, 38 of which have sea access and profit from maritime fishing. Several African lakes (with the two largest ones in the world being lakes Tanganyika and Victoria) and its big rivers (Nile, Niger, Congo, Zambezi) are also rich in fish. In 2015, fish production in Africa amounted to 11 million tons, with 85% coming from catch fishing and 15% from fish farming, accounted for 7% of the world production. Source : www.seaaroundus.org/data/#/eez and unstats.un.org/unsd However, Africa’s exclusive economic zones (EEZ)[1] are not as...
16 Nov 2016

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...
03 Oct 2016

La Maîtrise de l’eau pour multi-usages, un défi important pour la réalisation des objectifs des Top 5 de la BAD.

L’Afrique est à la croisée des chemins avec la mise  en œuvre des objectifs de développement durable (ODD). Située au centre de l’attention des experts du monde du développement et des décideurs - comme l’a montré la récente 71e Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, la transition ODD-ODM nous mène à un constat de « non-évolution ». Les différentes conceptions énoncées ainsi que les multiples indicateurs proposés n’ont pas permis d’atteindre le développement durable nécessaire pour l’Afrique. Manque de pertinence des données disponibles ou  déficit de coordination ?...
06 Sep 2016

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. As previously explained, the RVC strategy consists in implementing, at a regional scale, a production system which is comparable to the world-scaled one...
26 Aug 2016

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. What is...
27 Jun 2016

Food trade deficit poses a major challenge for Togo

The populations of Togo (7 million) and Switzerland (8 million) are quite similar. Likewise, the area covered by the two countries is not too different – 56,785 km2 for Togo and 41,285 km2 for Switzerland. On the other hand, Togo has 12 times more agricultural labour force than Switzerland and, despite this, Switzerland is well ahead of Togo in terms of consumption of fertilizers per hectare (15 times), number of agricultural machines used on arable area (4,000 times), productivity of cereals per hectare (6 times) and consequently of value added per agricultural worker (32 times)1. This means...