West Africa witnesses 7% economic growth rate – ECOWAS

Nigeria and six others experienced growth rate of over 7 per cent.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the region experienced a projected economic growth rate of seven per cent in 2013 compared to 6.6 per cent in 2012.

Kadre Ouedraogo, the President of the commission, disclosed this while presenting the statement on the state of the community at the ongoing ordinary session of the parliament in Abuja on Monday.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) in July described West Africa as the fastest growing region in Africa between 2013 and 2014.

The baseline for the AfDB submission was its economic growth rate of between 6.7 per cent and 7.4 per cent, which it attributed to the growth in oil, mineral and agriculture sectors.

Mr. Ouedraogo said, “the secondary sector, notably mineral production has been the principal source of growth during 2013.’’

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He said that Sierra Leone registered the highest growth rate in the region with 13.2 per cent, while Cape Verde experienced the lowest with 0.5 per cent.

He said that seven countries experienced a growth rate of not less than seven per cent in 2013.

The countries are Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

He said that the region had at the regional level experienced the highest growth rate compared to the growth rates of other African regions in spite of the crisis situation in the region.

On the progress in Mali, Mr. Ouedraogo said that the commission was working with political leaders in the country to facilitate the reconciliation process and ensure sustained peace.

He urged Malian officials to initiate the necessary changes to ensure peaceful legislative elections and assured of the commission’s continued support to enhanced peace in the country.

On Guinea Bissau, he said that the country would hold its elections on the set date ofNovember 24.

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The ECOWAS President stressed the need for the country to ensure the transition process was achieved by the end of 2013.

He urged member states to ratify outstanding protocols and conventions, saying that such was necessary to facilitate regional integration.

Mr. Ouedraogo said that all the 15 member states were yet to ratify some of the existing protocols and conventions.

He said that as at July 10, the status of ratifications of the 54 protocols and conventions showed that efforts were needed by member states to ensure speedy ratification.

“Liberia and Guinea Bissau were yet to ratify 29 of the protocols and convention.

“Other countries include Cape Verde, which has not ratified 27 and Cote d’Ivoire has an outstanding of 23 protocols and conventions to be ratified.

“Benin with 16, Guinea, 15 and Nigeria, 14, while Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and the Gambia are yet to ratify 12 and Togo, Niger and Ghana has not ratified 11.

“Burkina Faso has also not ratified three out of the 54 protocols and conventions.

“Membership of the bloc required that affected parties sign and ratify the different legal instruments necessary for the functioning of the community,” he said.

He called on members of the parliament to facilitate the ratification process of the protocols and conventions at the national levels.

Mr. Ouedraogo said, “the different national parliaments are implored to ensure speedy ratification of the legal documents.

“The commission will continue to count on your support on this matter.’’

(NAN)

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