The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) says the West African States are expected to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2018 against 2.6 per cent in 2017.
This is contained in the ECA’s report on Sub-regional Profile for West Africa, released at the 21st Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (ICE) for West Africa on Wednesday in Cotonou.
The commission attributed the growth to the rise in global oil prices, increase in crude oil production in Nigeria and the introduction of new oil fields in Ghana.
“A buoyant domestic demand and the pursuit of major public investments will also continue to sustain growth in the sub-region in 2018.
“The security situation is still problematic in Sahel countries such as Mali, Niger and in the north of Nigeria.
“This will continue to remain a major risk for economic prospects in 2018.
“The socio-political situation in some countries, particularly Togo and Guinea-Bissau, will also impact economic prospects in the sub-region in 2018,’’ it said.
According to the ECA, inflation in the ECOWAS zone is expected to reduce from 13.1 per cent in 2017 to 11.1 per cent in 2018 in Nigeria, Liberia and Sierra Leone and it (inflation) is expected to be 14, 11.7, and 13.9 per cent respectively, mainly due to the continuing effect of currency depreciation and fuel price adjustment.
The UN commission said ECOWAS countries compared to other regions in Africa, stands out as the best performer for free movement of persons, goods and services.
“On the other hand, there are flaws in the area of infrastructure interconnection, trade and productive integration.
“The economy of the ECOWAS sub-region is still fragile because of the lack of meaningful economic diversification.
“They are also heavily dependent on the world economy and global commodity prices for gold, crude oil and so on’’ says the commission.
The ECA advised member countries to implement policies that promote economic diversification, structural transformation, improve political, economic and social governance.