The African Development Bank has predicted an average growth rate of 3.8 per cent in the Gross Domestic Product of West Africa economies.
The bank made the prediction in its publication, ‘African Economic Outlook’, which now comes in four regional editions.
In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Monday, the bank said unimpressive performance in Nigeria in 2016 resulted in stagnation in the West African region as the nation accounts for about 70 per cent of the regional economy.
According to the bank, following the recovery experienced in Nigeria and other West African countries in 2017, growth in the GDP is expected to rise to 3.8 per cent in 2018 and move up to 3.9 per cent in 2019.
The AfDB stated, “After several good years, economic growth in West Africa stagnated at 0.5 per cent in 2016. The decline in the price of raw materials and the unimpressive performance of Nigeria, which alone accounts for about 70 per cent of the sub region’s GDP, were some of the key factors identified as responsible for stagnation.
“Economic growth in West Africa rebounded to 2.5 per cent in 2017 and is projected to rise to 3.8 per cent in 2018 and 3.9 per cent in 2019. Household consumption and the relative price recovery of certain materials are expected to contribute to this performance.”
The Deputy Director-General, African Development Bank for West Africa, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, identified job creation, especially for young people, as the big challenge for the sub-region.
She stated, “The 2018 Regional Economic Outlook for West Africa presents a comprehensive analysis of the economy and the labour market of 15 countries, focusing on macroeconomic stability, employment and poverty of the population living in West Africa.
“Let us not forget that some of the countries in this sub-region are facing enormous security challenges.”