Cote d'Ivoire/ECOWAS: West Africa's economy to grow by 7.1% in 2014

Yamoussoukro, Cote d'Ivoire (PANA) - West Africa will remain the most dynamic African Regional Economic Community (REC) in 2014 with an economic growth rate forecast at 7.1 per cent, up from 6.3 per cent the previous year, according to the 2013 annual report presented by ECOWAS Commission President Kadré Desire Ouédraogo to the summit of regional leaders in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, Friday.

After a regional growth of 6.6 per cent in 2012, six of the 15 ECOWAS member states achieved growth rates above the 6.3 per cent average in 2013, with Sierra Leone topping the chart at 14.6 per cent.

The five others above the regional average were Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria.

In the wide-ranging report presented to the 44th ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, the ECOWAS chief said the growth in the regional economy was driven by strong demand for minerals, hydrocarbons, resilience of agricultural production and services as well as the macroeconomic and sectoral reforms implemented by some member states.

The report also showed that the Commission has signed a 56-million Euro financing agreement with the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) as part of the operationalisation of the Regional Food Security Reserve, launched along with a Regional Agriculture Agency in September 2013 as part of the region’s effort to improve food availability.

The Commission’s achievement of full commitment of a 600-million Euro envelope for the Regional Indicative Programme, under the 10th EDF of the EU, encouraged the EU to double the envelope for the programme to 1.2 billion Euros under the 11th EDF.

On infrastructure development, President Ouédraogo said three border posts were completed at Nope, Malanville and Cinkanse while that of Seme Krake Plage between Benin and Nigeria was still under construction, along with those on the River Gambia Bridge and Mfum between Nigeria and Cameroon.

These and four other joint border posts programme are aimed at facilitating the implementation of the regional flagship protocol on free movement of citizens, right of residence and establishment, as well as ensure unfettered circulation of goods and services to boost regional integration, trade and economic development.

The annual report also covered the activities of other Community institutions including the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), which approved a total of US$182.1 million for the financing of 17 projects and also signed 11 infrastructure financing agreements.

According to the annual report, the Community Court of Justice held 47 sessions with 18 new cases filed, even though it continues to face some challenges including the difficulties experienced by citizens in filing cases, delays and non-enforcement of its judgements, particularly because of the absence of competent authorities at the national level in some member states.

The two-day summit is discussing various issues, including regional peace and security, reports from some ministerial meetings and the Council of Ministers.

The regional leaders will also elect a new ECOWAS chairman to replace President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire after his two-year tenure.
-0- PANA SEG 28March2014

28 march 2014 18:25:05

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