West Africa: 2014 Growth Snapshot

BMI forecasts that West Africa will outperform the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of real GDP growth in 2014. This will be driven by buoyant economic activity in heavyweights Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria, although there are significant downside risks stemming from the political scene in both cases.

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso has been the fastest-growing economy in UEMOA over the past five years, and will continue to perform well over the next decade thanks to cotton, mining and the consumer sector. However, there are risks to this outlook, most notably from a rapidly growing population and the risk of political unrest.

Benin: Real GDP growth will lag that of other UEMOA members over the next decade, as the country struggles to overcome internal weaknesses and external shocks. Although it remains a politically stable country in a tumultuous region, there is increasing risk of political discontent among the populace. Should this escalate then further risks to growth could arise.

West Africa: 2014 Growth Snapshot

BMI forecasts that West Africa will outperform the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of real GDP growth in 2014. This will be driven by buoyant economic activity in heavyweights Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria, although there are significant downside risks stemming from the political scene in both cases.

Sub-Saharan Africa - Real GDP Growth, %
2011 2012e 2013f 2014f 2015f 2016f 2017f 2018f
Sub-Saharan Africa 3.9 4.3 5.1 5.7 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.7
East And Central Africa -0.5 3.4 5.3 6.0 6.3 6.1 6.3 6.2
Southern Africa 3.8 3.9 3.4 4.4 4.6 4.6 5.0 4.8
West Africa 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.4 6.6 6.5 6.5 6.6
Source: BMI

Burkina Faso: Burkina Faso has been the fastest-growing economy in UEMOA over the past five years, and will continue to perform well over the next decade thanks to cotton, mining and the consumer sector. However, there are risks to this outlook, most notably from a rapidly growing population and the risk of political unrest.

Benin: Real GDP growth will lag that of other UEMOA members over the next decade, as the country struggles to overcome internal weaknesses and external shocks. Although it remains a politically stable country in a tumultuous region, there is increasing risk of political discontent among the populace. Should this escalate then further risks to growth could arise.

Côte d'Ivoire: We believe that Côte d'Ivoire will be one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa over the coming years as the economy continues its impressive return to form following a decade of stagnation. We predict that headline real GDP growth will average 8.0% between 2014 and 2017.

Cameroon: Economic growth in Cameroon will remain slightly above that in the country's Central African peers, but declining oil production and a difficult business environment will prevent economic expansion from reaching the levels seen elsewhere in Africa. We predict that real GDP growth will average 4.8% between 2014 and 2018.

Gabon: Gabon's small population will complicate efforts to diversify the economy, with labour shortages hampering the development of many industries. The country's reliance on migrant labour is already controversial given high levels of domestic unemployment, and we believe that any large-scale inflow of foreign workers would be highly divisive.

Ghana: We hold a positive outlook on Ghana, forecasting strong economic growth over the coming years on the back of booms in oil & gas, infrastructure and retail. However, there a number of key downside risks including low commodity prices and potential power shortages.

Gambia: The Gambia should see growth pick up over the medium term, as it recovers from a 2012 economic contraction caused by a drought the previous year. The country remains reliant on foreign grants to maintain its balance of payments, though we note that given the controversy over President Yahya Jammeh's administration, these are by no means guaranteed, and other sources of finance are being sought.

Nigeria: Although we retain our view that the Nigerian economy will grow by a robust 7.0% in 2014 driven by the non-oil sector, we note that downside risks have increased over recent months. Specifically, ructions within the ruling party and the uncertainty surrounding the identity of the central bank governor are both issues which could destabilise the economy.

West Africa - Real GDP Growth, %
2011 2012e 2013f 2014f 2015f 2016f 2017f 2018f
Burkina Faso 5.1 8.0 7.3 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9 6.9
Benin 3.1 3.5 3.8 4.0 4.1 4.3 4.4 4.4
Chad 3.6 8.9 4.5 9.2 6.6 4.0 3.3 3.4
Congo-Brazzaville 4.5 4.8 5.5 5.9 7.8 8.0 8.3 6.1
Cote dIvoire -4.7 9.8 8.7 8.2 8.0 7.9 7.9 7.9
Cameroon 4.1 4.4 4.4 4.6 4.9 4.7 4.8 4.9
Gabon 5.8 5.4 6.1 5.5 5.3 5.5 5.5 5.5
Ghana 15.0 7.9 7.0 6.4 7.2 7.0 7.4 6.0
Gambia 5.5 1.9 6.5 5.0 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0
Guinea 4.2 3.8 3.0 3.3 4.0 6.2 7.4 15.6
Equatorial Guinea 7.1 4.7 -1.8 -1.5 -2.7 .9 -.8 .6
Guinea-Bissau 4.3 -2.1 3.7 3.6 3.4 3.2 3.2 3.2
Mali 2.7 -1.7 4.5 5.1 4.9 4.7 4.7 4.7
Niger 2.3 11.0 6.0 6.0 5.7 6.2 6.2 6.2
Nigeria 6.8 6.5 6.7 7.0 7.4 6.9 6.9 7.0
Sierra Leone 6.0 15.2 15.8 11.6 11.0 10.6 9.6 9.5
Senegal 2.8 3.8 4.0 4.4 4.8 5.2 5.2 5.3
Togo 4.9 5.4 5.3 5.1 5.1 5.0 5.0 5.0
Source: BMI
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