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International Investments for West and Central Africa in 2022

West and Central Africa forms a region that includes 22 countries that stretch from the semi-arid lands of the Sahel to the vast coastal areas of the Atlantic and the Gulf of Guinea, while tropical forest covers vast territories, from Guinea to the Republic of Congo, via Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon and Gabon. This region is full of opportunities but faces macroeconomic challenges.

October 27, 2023
3 Min read

Image credit © by Getty Image, miner in the gold mine


With nearly 500 million inhabitants, the sub-region has seen its population quadruple over the past 50 years. The majority of the population is concentrated in coastal areas, while landlocked countries are generally less densely populated. The region has experienced very dynamic urbanization and 48% of the population now lives in urban areas. With 5.4 and 4.6 million inhabitants respectively, Abidjan and Yaoundé are the largest French-speaking cities in the world after Kinshasa and Paris, and Lagos with more than 15 million inhabitants, one of the largest English-speaking agglomerations in the world. This rapid urbanization is expected to continue over the next few years. West and Central Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 12% of young people under the age of 15.

Despite these immense opportunities, Africa is only reaching 40% of its estimated potential due to a persistent deficit in education, health and skills.

In West and Central Africa, economic activity is expected to grow by 3.4% in 2023 (from 3.7% in 2022) and accelerate to reach 3.9% and 4.0% respectively in 2024 and 2025.

Image credit © by Getty Image, Gold mine in Burkina Faso.

Partners and international investment

With a long tradition of regional trade, the subregion has made remarkable progress in terms of cooperation. In addition to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is the largest economic and political union on the African continent, the region also includes two monetary unions — the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) which include 13 countries in total.

On March 21, 2022, Canada announced $83 million in development assistance for projects in West Africa (Ghana, Senegal and Pan-African).

A long-standing partner of Africa, the World Bank between April 2020 and until its last fiscal year ended June 30, 2022, approved an unprecedented total of $28.5 billion in loans for 234 projects covering priority sectors keys in the area. More than half of these commitments went to countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence.

The World Bank also provided 357 advisory services and analytical products during this period. In fiscal year 2022, IFC made $9.4 billion in investments in 36 countries across Africa, representing its largest annual commitment to the continent. Over the past ten years, the World Bank Group has more than quadrupled its resources in the Sahel and mobilized more than $8.5 billion between 2020 and 2023, making it the leading contributor to development in the sub-region.

The World Bank Group is stepping up its support for regional integration to address key priorities on the African continent. The priority areas of its activities in West and Central Africa are infrastructure networks, economic diversification, trade and transport facilitation, financing, human capital development, resilience and the fight against fragilities, particularly in the regions of Lake Chad and the Sahel. The main regional programs carried out in West and Central Africa:

·       Regional Urgent Response Solar Energy Project (RESPITE) to increase grid-connected renewable energy capacity and strengthen regional integration in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Chad and Togo. It will finance the installation and operation of approximately 106 megawatts of photovoltaic solar energy with battery energy storage systems, the expansion of 41 megawatts of hydroelectric capacity, as well as the distribution and transmission of electricity. electricity in the four countries. In addition to improving the reliability of electricity supply in each of the beneficiary countries, the project has developed a regional approach to enhance the potential for electricity trade in West Africa.

·       The West African Coastal Management Program (WACA), The WACA program enables participating countries to stabilize the coastline, prevent the loss of essential infrastructure such as coastal transport routes, and maintain health and productivity coastal waters essential for food security and natural capital.

·       The Regional Disease Surveillance Systems Strengthening (REDISSE) project aims to strengthen health systems and collaboration between countries to better detect and control outbreaks of communicable diseases.

·       The Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) project aims to expand women's and adolescent girls' access to quality education and reproductive, maternal and child health services.

Also, according to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2022 released on June 9, in 2021, foreign direct investment (FDI) to African countries reached a record high of $83 billion. West Africa saw its FDI increase by 48% to reach 14 billion dollars and that of Central Africa stabilized at 9.4 billion dollars.

These well-managed investments can help improve the living conditions of local populations, connect peoples and countries and thus transform the continent.




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