Eight-Member West African Bloc Record 5.7% Growth

Eight-Member West African Bloc Record 5.7% Growth (News Central TV)

The West African Economic and Monetary Union, WAEMU, whose eight members are coping with both regional and global difficulties, announced on Monday that its growth for this year would be 5.7 percent, slightly less than that of 2021.

A 1994 pact brought together the nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo to create the West African Economic Community, WAEMU.

Growth was 6.1 percent regionally in 2021. According to the bloc, inflation will reach 7.5 percent this year from 3.6 percent in 2021.

After a summit in Abidjan, the economic hub of Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara claimed that WAEMU members had not been exempt from “the deep challenges which are impacting the entire world.”

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President Alassane Ouattara

He pointed to the impact of the war in Ukraine, the “shock” of the Covid pandemic and a “worrying” security situation regionally.

Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger are three WAEMU nations battling a brutal insurgency that poses a threat of spreading southward to Benin, Ivory Coast, and Togo.

Part of spending that should have gone on health and education is now having to be diverted to “defence and security”, Ouattara said.

The Abidjan discussions took place the day after a summit of the 15-nation ECOWAS, a larger West African bloc that deals with political and security affairs, was held in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.

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According to Omar Alieu Touray, the head of the ECOWAS commission, the group’s leaders decided on Sunday to establish a regional force that would step in at times of crisis “whether this be in the field of security, terrorism, or to restore constitutional order in member countries.”

Anger about the insurgency within their troops has resulted in two coups in Mali and Burkina Faso since August 2020.

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