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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.

20 Jun 2016

Burkina Faso faces public finance dilemma

In a recent blog post, we discussed the impacts of socioeconomic and terrorist events on the Burkinabe economy noting that “to answer the terrorist threat, current expenditure will soar.” However, this should not be done at the expense of development programs and capital spending in economic infrastructure. Indeed, after the socio-political events experienced by Burkina Faso, we advocate for an economic stimulus based on the quality and increase in public investment expenditure. After achieving over 6% in 2011, 2012 and 2013, Burkina Faso’s economic growth rate started waning in 2014...
13 Jun 2016

Why and when to introduce a single currency in ECOWAS

The creation of a single currency in West Africa remains a timely and relevant project. This is despite post Euro zone crisis uncertainties, and the postponement, for the fourth consecutive time, of the introduction of a single currency in member countries of the West African Monetary Zone. In fact, in today’s international monetary context, ECOWAS member countries have serious monetary problems that no one country can single-handedly resolve. A common currency in ECOWAS will offer West African countries the opportunity to pool their monetary resources in order to better pursue their common...
03 Jun 2016

Industrialisation in West Africa (1): The current state of affairs

The demographic boom and urbanization in West Africa, coupled with growing demand for more inclusive growth, are key drivers of economic transformation in the region. Natural resources exploitation is no longer sufficient in order to meet employment and social inclusion expectations, particularly amongst youth. On the back of such pressure, governments are compelled to foster economic diversification centred on job-creating sectors likely to entail human development. In order to achieve the latter, industrialization, in its manufacturing dimension, is one of the ways forward as detailed in...
16 Mar 2016

Le Burkina, après coups d’État et attentat terroriste : quels impacts sur l’économie ?

L'insurrection d’octobre 2014, suivie d’une transition politique émaillée de coups d’État et autres remous sociaux, ont eu de fortes répercussions sur l’économie burkinabè – et de plusieurs sortes. Des journées de travail ont été perdues, le secteur informel a été durement touché et l’activité économique nocturne fortement perturbée par un couvre-feu qui a duré plus de cinq mois. Depuis, les investissements directs étrangers (IDE) sont en berne (avec une chute de 34 % entre 2014 et 2015),  l’investissement public a baissé (de 14,2 % du PIB en 2013 à 10 %...
13 Jan 2016

Turning “wealth in the ground” into “human wealth”, not by taxes alone

In previous blog posts, I wrote about the revenues that are likely to materialise from new projects coming online in West Africa; the macroeconomic choices to ensure that these revenues do not have negative macroeconomic impacts and are enjoyed by future generations; and how those revenues can help to bridge the funding gap in health and education. In this last blog of the series, I would like to focus on the bigger picture: How can governments convert “wealth in the ground” into “human wealth”? How can the extractive sector as a whole contribute to the tangible development outcomes that...
05 Jan 2016

Stylized facts and lessons from West Africa’s Eurobonds

Debt, particularly foreign currency debt, has become an important source of development finance for West African economies. In the suite of foreign debt, Eurobonds (bonds issued in currencies other than those of the originating country and/or company) are the most prominent. In 2006, Seychelles was the first Sub-Saharan African country, aside from South Africa, to make its foray into the international financial markets with the issue of its $200-million Eurobond. Since then, several other Sub-Saharan African countries have issued Eurobonds with values generally ranging from $200 million to $1...
17 Dec 2015

Drawing lessons from the Greek crisis for West Africa (I): A regional integration perspective

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. The past years of Greek-led European crisis have sparked much debate on regional integration in Europe, and elsewhere, including in Africa. Certainly, such debates can be very informative and useful...
26 Nov 2015

Improving the lives of women in Guinea-Bissau over the long term

Repeated political upheavals have, in the past 40 years greatly undermined socio-economic progress and the institutions needed for gender-equitable development in Guinea-Bissau. In the wake of a successful transition period, the African Development Bank and UN Women have led the work on a forward-looking gender profile to take stock of the gender situation and seek ways to address pending issues. The study relies a lot on women’s associations and civil society which have worked to address women’s needs, and provided recommendations and advocacy on gender issues for the 2013-14...
23 Nov 2015

From extractive resources to human development: Opportunities for health and education in West Africa

My previous posts discussed how much revenues West African countries can expect from new discoveries of extractive resources, and what are the choices facing policymakers in utilising these revenues. In this piece, I will try to focus on how these revenues can be used specifically for investments in health, education skills and other tangible development outcomes. What can really been achieved, and how? The chart below gives a general picture of the opportunities in Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia in terms of health and education funding from natural resource revenues. The figure takes a...
24 Oct 2015

Getting small-scale farmers to adopt better practice: A tale of contrasts from Ghana and Benin

One of the reasons why agriculture in Africa has been lagging behind the rest of the world is because small-scale farmers are often reluctant to adopt better but unfamiliar practices. How can this cycle be broken? This article looks at two contrasting responses to adaptation – one in Ghana and one in Benin – and the impact they have produced. Rice has replaced maize as the favourite staple in many West African countries, but low crop yields mean that a substantial volume of the grain has to be imported at the cost of billions of dollars. The native variety of rice is perfectly adapted...