PRESS RELEASE

COMMUNIQUE DE PRESSE

Year 2013 Selected
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N°: 055/2013
1 March 2013 [Yamoussoukro - Cote d'Ivoire]

WEST AFRICA RECORDS IMPRESSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN 2012

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, Yamoussoukro. "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 governance." 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 crises. 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 dollars. 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 malaria. 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 Guinea. 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 project. 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.


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