Francophone West Africa: Economy Accelerating, But Still Slow

BMI View: Upward revisions to our 2013 economic forecasts for Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, and Equatorial Guinea have led us to predict real GDP growth of 5.1% across West Africa's 15 franczone economies. We forecast that the region's economy will expand by 5.5% in 2014 and 5.8% in 2015 as growth picks up in several Central African states. BMI stresses, however, that growth in the Central African bloc will be slower than that in the XOF-using Western states, and that the entire region will perform poorly by African standards.

If taken together, the two currency blocs of West Africa's franczone have a combined economy that is a third larger than Angola's. If French-speaking Guinea is included, the region's population is only just less than that of Nigeria, while total exports are nine times larger than those of Kenya. Rapid mining growth, higher-than-expected oil production, and rising consumer spending have led BMI to upwardly revise our forecasts for countries across the region, where we see growth accelerating over the coming years.

Despite this positive momentum, however, BMI expects growth in both the Western Union Économique et Monétaire Ouest-Africaine (UEMOA) and the Central Communauté Économique et Monétaire de l'Afrique Centrale ( CEMAC ) to underperform their African peers. With few exceptions, poor governance, undiversified economies, and cripplingly poor business environments will depress growth across most franczone states.

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Francophone West Africa

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