6 ECOWAS countries projected to meet MDGs on poverty reduction

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Six West African countries are projected to record a minimum 7% growth rate in 2013, sufficient to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly the goal on poverty reduction, and more than double the global growth rate, according to the first biannual report presented by the ECOWAS Commission on Thursday.

The presentation was made by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, to the 70th session of the Council of Ministers which opened in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Thursday.

A 7% growth rate is the minimum economic threshold required to achieve one of the eight key MDGs agreed by world leaders in 2000 to be achieved by 2015, including reducing poverty by half

The six ECOWAS Member States mentioned in the report that would achieve or surpass the 7% growth rate, which is also the projected growth rate for the region in 2013, are Sierra Leone (17.1%), The Gambia (8.9%), Côte d’Ivoire (8.0%), Liberia (7.5%), Nigeria (7.2%) and Burkina Faso (7.0%).

The ECOWAS Commission President said the impressive growth rates "confirm the dynamism of economic growth in the region", which, though in 2012 recorded a 6.6% growth rate, would post a growth rate of 7%, the highest among the five regions of Africa.

"The estimated increase in production for 2013 is within the framework of consolidating the fundamental factors of regional growth, including in particular, demand for minerals and hydrocarbons as well as increase in agricultural production," Ouédraogo told the ministers at the regional meeting, one of the two ordinary sessions held annually.

According to the report, the increase in ECOWAS growth rate would be in consonance with projected real GDP growth for Senegal with 4% and Guinea with 4.5%.

Two other countries with negative growth in 2012 will also experience positive economic news with Guinea Bissau projected to post a 4.2% growth compared to -0,9% in 2012, while Mali is expected to record 4.8%, up from the -1.2% in the preceding year, buoyed by optimism about the political and security situations in the country.

The president sought to tie the economic success to good macroeconomic policy management over the years, particularly in terms of fiscal discipline and downward inflationary trends.

"The decline in global inflation in 2013 is due to the good performance of some of the regular inflation-prone countries which posted rates varying between 16% and 11% and which have consistently maintained a rate below 10% in the last few years," he added.

The report also contained the performances of the Commission and other Community institutions for the first half of 2013.

But despite the positives, the president warned that the real growth rate would worsen in three Member States, while the persistent dominant risks, including those related to the engines of the global economic recovery such as demand for minerals and hydrocarbons, the crises in the Euro zone and global food market, cast a gloom over the regional economic outlook.
-0- PANA VAO 22June2013

22 june 2013 09:36:47

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