17 November 2012

ECOWAS Working With Partners to Improve Business Climate in West Africa

press release

Abuja - Nigeria — ECOWAS is partnering with the International Finance Corporation and the European Union to implement a programme for the improvement of the business environment in the region, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has assured.

“This will cover the development of a regional investment policy, finalisation of a regional investment code, the implementation of a regional investment policy monitoring platform developed jointly by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO,” the president told a Global Banking and Investment Forum, organized in London on 6th November 2012, by the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

West Africa is associated with a difficult business and investment environment accentuated by poverty, infrastructure deficit, policy deficiency and political governance issues.   In the speech to the Forum, delivered on his behalf by the ECOWAS Director of Private Sector, Mr. Alfred Braimah, President Ouedraogo said: “The future looks much brighter now given the level of political will of the Heads of State and Government and the full support of the development partner community to assist the ECOWAS Commission and the Member States to address the business climate challenges at the National and Regional Level through the development of the right policy frameworks.”

With a population of some 300 million people and GDP of US$ 316 billion, the ECOWAS region accounts for 4.5% of the world’s population, but only 0.5% of the world’s GDP.  President Ouedraogo however noted that this is also changing, with a projected 5% annual growth rate in GDP for the region.

“Despite the enormous challenges, there is great opportunity for growth and development within the ECOWAS Region,” he said.

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