I Coast wants private boost for West Africa competitiveness

2018-06-02 16:02
Map of Ivory Coast. (iStock)

Map of Ivory Coast. (iStock)

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West African economies need to tap deeper into the private sector if they are to boost competitiveness and continue the region's strong growth, Ivory Coast Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly said on Friday.

"West African states in general have embarked on a strong growth dynamic since the start of the millennium," Coulibaly said, pointing to an average growth of five percent for the region during that time as he addressed a competitiveness forum in Abidjan.

Noting that Africa's share of global GDP rose from one to more than four percent between 2001 and 2014, he added that "vigorous economic reforms and public and private restrictions underpin these performances".

But to improve the scenario still further he said "the African private sector should improve productivity and its performances to make the best of opportunities on the continent".

Coulibaly urged the private sector to invest in "technological innovation... and work with governments to find solutions to factors which hamper capacity to produce and export".

Faman Toure, chairperson of Ivory Coast's chamber of commerce - organising the meeting with the World Economic Forum - said the growth trajectory in the region's eight countries was "encouraging" after closing on seven percent in 2017.

"With a rate of private investment rising 21.2% in 2015 and 22.1% in 2016, the sub-region is at the head of the global level," said Toure, adding that it reflected the increased interest of private investors in the region.

Toure highlighted the creation in May of a special economic zone straddling Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Mali to bolster regional integration.

The region comprises seven French-speaking countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo, as well as Portuguese-speaking Guinea Bissau, with the group having a combined population of some 90 million.

In the wider context, although the International Monetary Fund is banking on sub-Saharan African growth of 3.4% in 2018, from 2.8% in 2017, a May report highlighted a heavy debt burden with more than a dozen countries rated in debt distress or at risk.

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Read more on:    ivory coast  |  west africa

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