Nigeria: 'Despite Ebola, ECOWAS remains most dynamic REC in Africa'

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Despite being hit hard by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the ECOWAS region remains the most dynamic Regional Economic Community (REC) in Africa with an expected growth rate of 6.3% in 2014, according to ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo.

In his presentation to the just-ended ECOWAS Council of Ministers meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, the Commission President said Cote d'Ivoire is expected to record the highest growth rate of 9.1% in the region.

He said four other countries - Gambia (7.5%), Ghana (6.9%), Mali (6.5%) and Niger (6.3%) - were expected to record growth rates same as or exceeding the regional average growth rate of 6.3%.

''The main sources of growth are the high demand for the region's raw materials, good agricultural production and increase in public infrastructure expenditure,'' President Ouedraogo said.

However, the three countries most affected by the EVD that has claimed more than 6,000 lives will not be part of the economic growth projections, as the disease has hit their economies very hard.

According to the Commission President, growth prospects for Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been revised downwards: From 4.5% to 0.5% in Guinea, 5.9% to 2.2% in Liberia and 11.1% to 4.0% in Sierra Leone.

''The hardest-hit sectors by the epidemic are health, agriculture, mining, services and education,'' PANA quoted him as saying.

Also speaking on the economic situation in the sub-region, the Chairperson of the Council, Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, said real GDP growth is expected to reach 7.1% in 2015, as against 6.3% in 2014, despite the EVD epidemic.

''This compares favourably with Eastern and Southern African regions whose growth rates in 2015 are projected at 6.2% and 4.4% respectively,'' Tetteh had told the 73rd session of the Council.

She, however, said Real GDP growth projections for 2014 decreased or stood at 2.4% (Guinea), 4.5% (Liberia) and 7.1% (Sierra Leone) as against 2.5% (Guinea), 8.1% (Liberia) and 13% (Sierra Leone) in 2013.

''This is based on the expectation that the epidemic will be contained by the end of  December 2014,'' Tetteh said.
-0- PANA SEG/VAO 12Dec2014

12 december 2014 12:42:40




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