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Slow reform may hurt West African monetary bloc's rise

Monday, June 12, 2017


Prospects for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)


Economic growth in WAEMU reached 6.1% in 2016, outperforming peer regional blocs including its closest rival, the East Africa Community (EAC), which (excluding South Sudan) grew by 5.8%. However, business environment reforms lag those of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, which could dampen longer-term growth.


  • Despite recent progress, growth rates need to increase above 7% for at least 20 years for the zone to reach middle-income status.
  • The structural depreciation of Nigeria's naira could erode regional integration as importing within the zone becomes more expensive.
  • Security fears in Ivory Coast could shift investors' focus to Senegal -- despite Yamoussoukro's recent eurobond success.

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