Economy

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    Niger is taking a step forward in accomplishing the dream of a trans-Saharan highway that will link six countries of the Sahel and Maghreb (Algeria, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia). On 13 January, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou, together with Denisa-Elena Lonette, ambassador of the EU Delegation, kicked off the rehabilitation of the 138-km Zinder-Tanout road. Read on
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    The official celebration ceremony took place on 10 January in the capital city of Burkina Faso at the International Conference Centre of Ouaga 2000. The group welcomed the presence of President Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, the current chair of the UEMOA’s Heads of State and Governments Conference. In terms of challenges, he highlighted the low rate of intra-community trade; the large number of border controls, delays and illegal imposed levies; the distortion of competition; and difficulties of some companies in gaining access to markets within the union. At the end of the ceremony, the two presidents inaugurated the new UEMOA administrative complex, located in Ouaga 2000. Read on
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    The autonomous Port of Lomé has overtaken Lagos and is now West Africa’s leading port with a capacity of 1.1 million twenty-foot containers (TEU). Thanks to modernisation reforms, the Port of Lomé tripled its capacity from 311 500 containers in 2013 to 1.1 million in 2017. Nigeria’s Apapa Port in Lagos (1 million TEU) lost 30% of its container traffic over five years due to chronic congestion and the poor quality of its services. Other West African ports have stagnated. Tema in Ghana (0.95 million TEU) maintains rank 3, followed by Abidjan (0.66 million TEU) and Dakar (0.57 million TEU). Read on
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    Fiscal policies may reduce inequalities in Togo, but they impoverish the poorest households. These key findings come from a new OECD study on the impact of fiscal and social protection policies on inequalities and poverty in that country. Read on
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    West African governments have received some USD 18.2 billion in Chinese loans since 2000. The amount of loans has progressively increased and reached, on average, about USD 2 billion per year over the past five years. Nigeria is the top recipient of Chinese loans in West Africa, followed by Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. This is nearly ten times less than the Chinese loans to Angola and less than half of the loans to Ethiopia or Kenya. Read on
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    China announced USD 60 billion in additional financing to support Africa’s development at the 3rd Forum for Africa-China Co-operation (FOCAC) Summit, which was held in Beijing on 3-4 September. The biggest Africa event in China brought together leaders from nearly all African countries (except Swaziland), Chinese officials and representatives from the African Union Commission. The Beijing Declaration outlined a new commitment called, “Toward an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.” The declaration is supported by a 2019-21 action plan. Burkina Faso and Gambia joined the forum as new members. Read on
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    Business and migration were the key topics of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s three-day tour of West Africa from 29-31 August. Merkel was accompanied by a high-level business delegation to promote business ties and private sector investment, in line with the objectives of the G20 Compact with Africa that was initiated in June 2017. Read on
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    The Togolese capital hosted a series of important events for West Africa’s regional organisations. UEMOA leaders met on 30 July 2018 for the 20th Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government. Just after the UEMOA summit, ECOWAS leaders gathered for their 53rd Ordinary Session of Heads of State and Government. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was nominated as new ECOWAS chairperson. The joint ECOWAS-ECCAS summit was held on 30 July and focused on the security situation in West and Central Africa. Heads of state adopted the Lomé Declaration to collaborate on peace, security and the fight against terrorism and violent extremism in the ECOWAS-ECCWAS space. Read on
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    Mauritania hosted the 31st Summit of the African Union in its capital city Nouakchott from 25 June-2 July. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was at the heart of discussions. African leaders also approved the creation of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) as a technical body of the African Union, which will have its own legal entity. Read on
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    Bio Soulé, a Rural Hub programme officer, explores the obstacles that prevent the promise of cross-border trade from fully catalysing the region’s growth and development in this article for the Bridges Africa series. “If radical reforms are not carried out in these countries, the African market could become easy prey for multinationals and counterfeit traders, who have the capacity to flood it with products of all kinds,” exhorts Soulé. Read on

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