West Africa’s growth prospects remain strong
The economic outlook of West Africa is promising. Six West African countries [Côte d’Ivoire (3), Senegal (5), Burkina Faso (6), Ghana (8), Benin (9) and Guinea(10)] ranked in the top 10 in Africa in 2018 in terms of real GDP growth. The West African economy is projected to grow by 3.6% in 2019, slightly below the continental average of 4%. East Africa, the continent‘s most dynamic region, has a projected growth of 5.9% in 2019. West Africa’s regional performance needs to be analysed in the context of Nigeria, which accounts for nearly 70% of West Africa’s regional GDP alone and is currently pulling down West Africa’s average. While Nigeria’s economy is still recovering from significant declines in oil revenues, its performance has been strengthened by the growing importance of the service sector. Countries that are not resource-rich - and are being supported by higher agricultural production, consumer demand and public investment - are growing the fastest. Despite the sharp decline in cocoa prices, Côte d’Ivoire remains among the fastest growing economies. Ghana is the third fastest growing African economy, following Libya and Ethiopia. Despite this positive growth outlook, there are many risks and considerable uncertainty related to global trade tensions, the normalisation of interest rates in advanced economies, and global commodity prices. African economies also need to address the structural challenges created by persistent fiscal deficits and debt vulnerability.