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Francophone West Africa: The Market, the Environment and Opportunities

In 2018, and for the sixth time in seven years, French-speaking sub-Saharan Africa has overall achieved the best economic performance of the continent. The trend is expected to continue in 2020.

This average is again driven by the WAEMU area, which continues to be the continent's largest growth area (> 6% per year).

For the fifth consecutive year and the sixth time in seven years, the eight countries in the WAEMU zone (including the Portuguese-speaking, but very Francophile, Guinea-Bissau) recorded overall growth of more than 6% (6.4%, and 6%). 6% a year earlier). The WAEMU zone thus confirms its status as the continent's largest growth area, and a major source of global growth. Excluding UEMOA, Guinea confirms the restart of its economy since 2016, with a GDP increase of 5.8% (8.2% in 2017).
For the whole of Francophone West Africa (including Guinea and Mauritania), overall growth was 6.2%.

Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal again posted the best performances in the region. With a growth of 7.5%, Côte d'Ivoire has been exceeded on the continent, and by little, than by Ethiopia (7.7%), whose performance is mainly due to the very low level of development of the country. country, with a GDP per capita that was still only 770 dollars in early 2018 (against 1540 dollars for Côte d'Ivoire).

Senegal, for its part, continued to grow by more than 6% (6.6%), achieving the fifth best performance of the continent, despite having one of the highest per capita GDPs in sub-Saharan Africa, to 1330 dollars beginning of 2018. A level well above that of East African countries such as Uganda and Rwanda, which are also among the countries with the best performances in 2018 (respectively 6.1% and 7.2%), but which are still among the continent's poorest countries ($ 610 and $ 750 per capita, respectively).

While the reasonable level of commodity prices has also had a positive impact, the good performance of francophone West Africa can be explained mainly by the numerous reforms implemented by the countries of the region. Diversification plans have been put in place, such as the "Emerging Senegal Plan" (PSE), or the "Strategy for Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development" (SCADD) in Burkina Faso, whose growth has been 6.0% in 2018. With regard to the business climate, some countries achieved a considerable good between Doing Business 2012 and 2019 rankings, and in particular Côte d'Ivoire (from 167th to 122nd place), Guinea (179th and 152nd), Togo (162nd to 137th), Benin (175th to 153rd) and Senegal (154th to 141st).

Finally, it should be noted that economic growth in Francophone West Africa continues to be more than twice as large as its population growth, although slightly above the sub-Saharan average. This demographic growth contributes to this economic dynamism, allowing the internal market of these countries to reach a critical mass necessary for the development of numerous economic activities. In addition, most countries in the region are still relatively sparsely populated.


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West Africa: Market, Environment, Opportunities
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