Nigeria accounts for 90 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Anglophone countries in West Africa, a new report by the Ecobank Research team has revealed.
Anglophone West Africa, which stretches from Gambia in the West to Nigeria in the East, covers six countries; Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia and encompasses the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), which draws together the mostly English-speaking countries of West Africa.
The Ecobank Research team in its newly published Anglophone West Africa section of its flagship financial website, AfricaFICC, said economic forecast for the region looks brighter.
It said Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is at last moving out of recession, while Ghana’s growth continues to be strong, and the region’s smaller countries picking up as they shake off the lingering effects of the Ebola outbreak in 2013-16.
The report said the outlook for both Nigeria and Ghana, the second key member of the block, is good in 2018: Nigeria is improving oil production, Ghana is getting a boost from an expansionary 2018 government budget and rising energy production; Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are on the up as their recovery from the effects of Ebola gathers pace; and the positive political outlook in The Gambia is driving economic prospects.
Outside oil and gas, Anglophone West Africa is a major producer of soft commodities – cocoa, cashew nuts, natural rubber and wood – both for regional consumption and for export to world markets.
The region is an important exporter of hard minerals, including gold, diamonds, and manganese, iron and aluminium ores, with Ghana the leading gold producer.
It is also a financial hub, having an estimated 39 percent of Middle Africa’s banking assets in 2015 (mostly in Nigeria). Nigeria and Ghana host two of the largest stock exchanges in Africa, in Lagos and Accra, respectively.
The report said Nigeria has developed the world’s largest sugar refining complex in Lagos, and has successfully phased out imports of packaged and refined sugar.
Regional Executive for Anglophone West Africa & Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Dan Sackey, stated that, “West Africa is coming out of a difficult period where it has faced many challenges – recession, Ebola, falling oil and other commodity prices – but we are now back on a growth trajectory.
“The recovery in commodity prices, notably oil and cocoa, has given a boost to economic growth, especially in Nigeria and Ghana, lifting the entire region.
“It is essential that West Africa uses this opportunity to press ahead with the diversification of the economy away from dependence on oil and minerals, with a focus on increasing output and processing of soft commodities, improving logistics and using the region’s financial and stock market leadership. Provided West Africa’s governments can maintain fiscal discipline, the growth outlook is very positive.”
“Ecobank understands regional and local business customs, regulations and country-specific risks better than any other bank in Africa because we operate on the ground in 33 markets,” said Dr Edward George, Ecobank’s Head of Group Research.