Mareel Souza, President, ECOWAS Commission, has attributed the decline in economic activities in the West African region in 2016 to the sharp drop in Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He sais this on Thursday in Abuja at the ECOWAS forth Parliament Ordinary Session while presenting a report on the community`s status in 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.
The report was presented on his behalf by the Commission`s Vice President, Mr Edward Singhatey.
According to him, the ECOWAS real GDP growth rate stands at 0.2 per cent in 2016, compared to 3.3 per cent in 2015 and 6.1 per cent in 2014, a development he attributed to the sharp drop in Nigeria`s GDP.
“This significant decline in the economic activities of West African region is mainly due to the sharp drop in the real GPD of Nigeria, the region`s major economy and leading oil producer in Africa,’’ he said.
He added that the near stagnation of the ECOWAS economy in 2016, which stood at 0.2 per cent growth, was due to poor performance of Nigeria`s economy which was 1.5 per cent.
The commission’s president further added that apart from Nigeria, the ECOWAS economic growth in 2016 was 5.3 per cent, against 4.7 per cent in 2015.
He said that Cote d`Ivoire had the highest growth rate of 9.3 per cent in 2016 against 9.2 per cent in 2015.
Souza added that the expected growth rate for the commission in 2017 was 2.2 per cent.
He stressed that member states took far reaching reforms by expanding their production bases and diversified their sources of growth and also improved the processing of their raw materials.
He, however, added that measures taken by the Nigerian government to address the situation had yielded positive results with an expected growth rate of 0.8 per cent in 2017 and 1.9 per cent in 2019.
This, he said, was according to the latest report of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projections for April 2017, adding that the projected ECOWAS growth rate in 2017 was 2.2 per cent.
He also said that global economic growth in 2016 declined slightly compared to 2015 at 3.1 and 3.2 per cent respectively in 2017.
He added that the April 2017 edition of the IMF World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast stronger global economic growth of 3.5 per cent while 2018 projection was 3.6 percent.
Souza said that the comparative analysis of major African regions revealed that West Africa was the worst hit by the general economic downturn on the continent in 2016.
He noted that in 2016, the highest budget deficit of 9.5 per cent was recorded in the Gambia, Sierra Leon (7.7 per cent) while Ghana had a reduction in the mobilisation of grants in some states.
He added that high inflation rate of 17.1 per cent was recorded in Ghana and 15.7 percent in Nigeria in 2016.
Other areas covered by the report include politics and security situation in the region, monetary and economic matters and building a common market.
Also in the report was agriculture, infrastructure development, private sector promotion, immigration and free movement of persons and goods in the region.
A new parliamentarian, Mr Alenzader Kwanima from Ghana, was admitted into the parliament.
The ECOWAS Parliament is a forum for dialogue, consultation and consensus for representatives of West Africa states with the aim of promoting integration.
It was established under Article 6 and 13 of the ECOWAS Revised Treaty of 1993.
The Protocol relating to the Parliament was signed in Abuja on Aug. 6, 1994 and became effective on March 14, 2002.
It provides for the structure, composition, competence and other matters relating to the parliament.