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ECOWAS partners IFC, EU to improve West Africa’s business climate

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ECOWAS President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo. © Getty Images

ECOWAS says it is working together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Union to implement a programme for the improvement of the business environment in West Africa.

The programme, among other things will cover the development of a regional investment policy, and the finalisation of a regional investment code, according to the West African regional bloc.

“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),” ECOWAS President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo told a Global Banking and Investment Forum, organized in London November 6, 2012 by the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI).

West Africa is said to be associated with a difficult business and investment environment with problems of 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 $316 billion, the ECOWAS region accounts for 4.5% of the world’s population, but only 0.5% of the world’s GDP, a situation which Mr Ouedraogo says it is 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.
Mr Ouedraogo indicated that potential returns on investment are extremely attractive and more than commensurate for the level of business risk in West Africa.

By Ekow Quandzie

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