West Africa achieved an economic growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2012, which is
more than double the global rate and an increase over the 5.9 per cent
recorded by the region in the preceding year, the President of the ECOWAS
Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, has said.
The figures which compare favourably with the 5.3 per cent for sub-Saharan
Africa and 4.5 per cent for Africa over the same period, were driven mainly by
good rainfall and positive developments in the mining and petroleum sectors,
the President said in his annual report to regional leaders at their just-
ended 42nd Ordinary summit at Cote d’Ivoire’s administrative capital,
"In spite of the global slow down, regional growth remained robust with a
growth estimated at 6.9 per cent," the President said in the report which
covered various aspects of the organisation’s activities and programmes for
the year under review.
Of the 15 ECOWAS countries, Sierra Leone recorded the highest economic growth
rate of 18.3 per cent compared to expected rate of 8 per cent for Burkina
Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia and Niger, while Mali recorded a recession.
But for the political crises in Guinea-Bissau and Mali, the President said the
Community implemented its 2012 work programme in an atmosphere characterised
by "relative political stability and improved political and economic
He said the region has also finalised its draft Common External Tariff of 5794
tariff lines in five categories with accompanying measures that will provide
Member States with additional instruments for protection and flexibility
within the context of creating a Customs Union for the region.
On the free movement of people and goods, which has been dogged by
impediments, the President said 11 of the 15 Member States have
institutionalised the ECOWAS Passport with common features, while a programme
launched in 2012 for the use of biometric identity cards as travel documents
will become operational in 2015.
He also said that 24 projects valued at 426.8 million Euros were being
processed under the Regional Indicative Progamme of the European Development
Fund, while other measures have been taken to improve agricultural
productivity through the interconnection of information systems, and adoption
of a collaborative approach for coordinated and harmonised responses to food
The region has also procured and installed equipment that will enable it use
satellites to monitor rainfall, drought, small water bodies and fires, and
finalised a draft document on the implementation of the strategic work
programme for adaptation to the environment to the tune of 9.5 million US
To improve its early warning capability, the President said the region has
launched a study on the Sahel Saharan conflict systems, and with another
ongoing study on the Mano River conflict systems.
He also announced that the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions along with the
Nigerian Government would provide 10 million US dollars to strengthen
democracy and stability in Guinea-Bissau.
The report equally covered the activities of other Community institutions such
as the ECOWAS Parliament, which is implementing activities under its four-year
strategic objectives to strengthen citizen involvement in decision making,
strengthen its institutional role in the integrating process, promote and
defend human rights and related issues in the region as well as collaboration
with related institutions.
The President said the West African Health Organization (WAHO), was also
involved with equipping the Abidjan Reference Laboratory for the diagnosis of
diseases with epidemic potentials and designing of a road map for combating
To improve energy availability and access, the President said the West African
Power Pool (WAPP) was actively working on inter-connection projects for energy
trading, including those connecting Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and
WAPP expects by the end of 2013 to complete the 60-MW Felou Hydro Power
facility, the 9.6-million-Euro project linking Côte d'Ivoire with Liberia and
commissioning of the Ghana component of the 330-KV Ghana-Togo interconnection
The President also announced that the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and
Development (EBID) has seen its total balance increase by 15.1 per cent
between September 2011 and September 2012 to 341 million Units of Account,
enabling it to increase lending to support the private sector and contribute
to stimulating the regional economy.