West African State Strive To Consolidate Growth


Countries taking the lead like Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and others in pulling the economies of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, have the uphill task to keep the momentum. Projections for 2017 which put the countries to an average growth of between six and nine per cent and the overall standing of the entire economic sub-region to 7% at a time when some sectors of the global economy like crude oil prices have been dangling means that ECOWAS countries have to focus on areas which can enable their economies to remain buoyant. The tertiary and secondary sectors have been identified by the Central bank of the ECOWAS sub-region as the booster to their economies accounting for 4.2 and 1.8 points respectively. Consequently, financial services, telecommunication, hotel and tourism as well as commercial activities through an increase in agricultural activities are being highlighted in the tertiary sector.  Meanwhile; industrialisation, increase in electron energy offer accompanied by building and public works infrastructure have been singled out by the Central bank as reasons for the positive economic growth. Of course, efforts by the various governments to create favourable business environments helped in attracting private investors as well as the judicious execution of the public investment budgets all contributed in building favourable economic prospects for the ECOWAS. Working on other factors such as inter-regional commercial transactions would not only uplift countries that are lagging behind, but will equally favour the circulation of currency within the sub-region, encourage local consumption and trigger growth in the other countries. Reinforcing economic resilience in the sub-region will obviously not be easy especially looking at the challenges being faced by a heavy weight of the sub-region like Nigeria. Security hurdles alone continue to protract in Nigeria and the mobilisation of financial resources in the other countries has not been certain. Thus, in order to significantly collect budgetary resources and avoid constantly turning to foreign debts or other forms of indebtedness to fund development projects in the various countries, political leadership has to be up to the development tasks. This means paying particular attention to sectors that encourage growth as well as those which can have a contagious impact on others. Recent projections that Africa is the new Eldorado for most investors owing to the youthful population and the advent of the digital economies all seem to hold true for ECOWAS countries. All that the political leaders may need to do in order to uphold the current positive prospects that they enjoy may be political stability and accountability. Maintaining the present trend therefore while ensuring inclusive growth that combats poverty at all levels will certain augur well for the sub-region.  

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