West Africa/ECOWASWest Africa/ECOWAS

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Contact at AFI team is Enoch Randy Aikins
This entry was last updated on 14 September 2022 using IFs v7.63.

In this entry, we first describe the Current Path forecast for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as it is expected to unfold to 2043, the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term vision for Africa.

The Current Path forecast is divided into summaries on demographics, economics, poverty, health/WaSH and climate change/energy. A second section then presents a single positive scenario for potential improvements in stability, demographics, health/WaSH, agriculture, education, manufacturing/transfers, leapfrogging, free trade, financial flows, infrastructure, governance and the impact of various scenarios on carbon emissions. With the individual impact of these sectors and dimensions having been considered, a final section presents the impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

We generally review the impact of each scenario and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on gross domestic product per person and extreme poverty except for Health/WaSH that uses life expectancy and infant mortality.

The information is presented graphically and supported by brief interpretive text.

All US$ numbers are in 2017 values.

Summary

  • Current Path forecast
    • ECOWAS is one of the eight regional economic communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union. It consists of 15 member states and was established on 28 May 1975. Based on the World Bank’s income classification, six member countries are classified as lower middle-income while the rest are all low-income countries. Jump to forecast: Current Path
    • In the Current Path forecast, the population of the ECOWAS region is set to increase from an estimated 386.9 million in 2019 to 982.2 million in 2043. By 2043, 56.7% of the population is expected to reside in urban areas. Jump to Demographics: Current Path
    • The ECOWAS region is forecast to experience significant growth in GDP, from US$816.4 billion in 2019 to US$2.8 trillion in 2043. GDP per capita in the region is set to increase from US$4 373 in 2019 to US$6 842 in 2043. Jump to Economics: Current Path
    • The number of people living in extreme poverty (below US$1.90 per day) will decrease from 150.2 million (38.5% of the population) in 2019 to 176.4 million (24.4% of the population) by 2043. Jump to Poverty: Current Path
    • Oil and gas will, respectively, represent 40% and 46% of ECOWAS’s total energy production by 2043, while other renewable energies will constitute 12%. Carbon emissions will increase from 62 million tons in 2019 to 280 million tons in 2043. Jump to Carbon emissions/Energy: Current Path
  • Sectoral scenarios
    • The Stability scenario will improve the ECOWAS score on the government security index from 0.70 in 2019 to 0.84 in 2043 and GDP per capita to US$7 099. It also reduces the poverty rate to 23% of the population. Jump to Stability scenario
    • In the Demographic scenario the ratio of working-age population to dependants is estimated to be 1.57 by 2043. This means ECOWAS will not reach its demographic dividend by then. The scenario will further lead to a rise in GDP per capita to US$7 022 by 2043 and reduce extreme poverty to 23.4% of the population. Jump to Demographic scenario
    • The Health/WaSH scenario will increase life expectancy from 64.7 years in 2019 to 73.6 years by 2043 and reduce infant mortality from 58.6 per 1 000 live births in 2019 to 27.8 by 2043. Jump to Health/WaSH scenario
    • In the Agriculture scenario, average crop yield in ECOWAS will rise from 3.9 metric tons in 2019 to 7.6 metric tons in 2043. GDP per capita in this scenario will increase to US$7 296. The poverty rate is expected to decline to 19.1%. Jump to Agriculture scenario
    • The Education scenario will increase the mean years of education from 6.7 in 2019 to 8.3 by 2043 and improve average test scores for primary and secondary learners to 38.7% and 45.6%, respectively. It will also result in a higher GDP per capita (US$7 099) by 2043, with the rate of extreme poverty in the region declining to 22.4%. Jump to Education scenario
    • In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, welfare transfers to households will rise from US$18.7 billion in 2019 to US$127.2 billion in 2043. The scenario will increase GDP per capita to US$7 375, whereas extreme poverty will decline to 21.7%. Jump to Manufacturing/Transfer scenario
    • In the Leapfrogging scenario, fixed-broadband subscriptions will increase from 2.2 per 100 people in 2019 to 46.7 by 2043. Mobile broadband subscriptions will increase from 36.4 per 100 people in 2019 to 146 by 2043. Access to electricity will increase from 50.3% of the population in 2019 to 84% by 2043. GDP per capita will increase to US$6 842 while extreme poverty will decline to 21.8% by 2043. Jump to Leapfrogging scenario
    • The Free Trade scenario will reduce the region’s trade deficit from 7.2% of GDP in 2019 to 1.8% in 2043. GDP per capita is expected to increase to US$7 635 and the poverty rate to decline to 20.8% by 2043. Jump to Free Trade scenario
    • The Financial Flows scenario will decrease aid as a percentage of GDP from 2.7% in 2019 to 1% in 2043, while increasing the contribution of foreign direct investment to ECOWAS’s economy from 2.5% of GDP in 2019 to 3.8% by 2043. Remittances will increase from 3.3% of GDP in 2019 to 3.5% in 2043. The scenario will increase GDP per capita to US$7 007 and reduce extreme poverty to 23.2% by 2043. Jump to Financial Flow scenario
    • The Infrastructure scenario will increase the percentage of the rural population living within 2 km of an all-weather road to 56.7% by 2043, up from 48.9% in 2019. The scenario will see access to electricity increasing to 77.2% of the population. GDP per capita will increase to US$6 987 by 2043, while the poverty rate is expected to decline to 23.5%. Jump to Infrastructure scenario
    • The Governance scenario increases the governance effectiveness score from 1.74 in 2019 to 2.32 in 2043. GDP per capita will increase from US$4 373 in 2019 to US$7 027 in 2043, while the poverty rate is set to decline from 38.5% in 2019 to 23.4% by 2043. Jump to Governance scenario
    • Although ECOWAS’s carbon emissions are projected to increase in all the scenarios, the Free Trade scenario will have the greatest effect, resulting in 308 million tons of carbon being emitted by 2043. Jump to Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions
  • Combined Agenda 2063 scenario
    • In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, GDP per capita in the ECOWAS region will increase from US$4 737 in 2019 to US$11 521 in 2043, with the Free Trade and Manufacturing/Transfers scenarios having the greatest impact. The economy is expected to grow from US$816.4 billion in 2019 to US$5.4 trillion in 2043, compared with US$2.8 trillion in the Current Path forecast. The number of people living below the poverty line will decrease significantly, to 55 million people (8% of the population). Carbon emissions are expected to increase significantly, to 404 million tons, by 2043. Jump to Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

All charts for West Africa/ECOWAS

Chart 1: Political map of ECOWAS
Chart
West Africa/ECOWAS: Current Path forecast

West Africa/ECOWAS: Current Path forecast

This page provides an overview of the key characteristics of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) along its likely (or Current Path) development trajectory. The Current Path forecast from the International Futures forecasting (IFs) platform is a dynamic scenario that imitates the continuation of current policies and environmental conditions. The Current Path is therefore in congruence with historical patterns and produces a series of dynamic forecasts endogenised in relationships across crucial global systems. We use 2019 as a standard reference year and the forecasts generally extend to 2043 to coincide with the end of the third ten-year implementation plan of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 long-term development vision.

ECOWAS is one of the eight regional economic communities (RECs) recognised by the African Union. It consists of 15 member states (see Chart 1), namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. It was established on 28 May 1975 via the treaty of Lagos, with the mandate to promote economic integration among West African countries. It is considered one of the pillars of the African Economic Community and was formed to create a single trade bloc through economic cooperation. According to the World Bank income group classification, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal are considered lower middle-income countries. ECOWAS countries classified as low-income are Benin, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo. By 2021, ECOWAS had succeeded, to some extent, in creating a borderless region to facilitate trade and integration among member countries. Citizens of member countries generally enjoy free movement through the identification of the ECOWAS card. However, the vision of having a monetary union with a single currency (the ECO) is yet to manifest. .

Chart 1: Political map of ECOWAS
Chart
Demographics: Current Path

Demographics: Current Path

The total population of ECOWAS increased from 178.5 million in 1990 to 386.9 million in 2019, making it the third most populous REC on the continent behind the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). This represents an increase of 116.8% over the period. The population of Nigeria alone (estimated to be about 203.8 million in 2019) makes up more than half of the total population of ECOWAS. In 2019, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, which are the next most populous countries in the region, had estimated populations of 30.5 million and 25.9 million people, respectively. In contrast, the least populous member countries are Cape Verde (550 000), Guinea-Bissau (1.9 million), The Gambia (2.4 million) and Liberia (7.9 million). It is projected that by 2043, the total population of ECOWAS will be 723.3 million.

In 2019, the proportion of the population younger than 15 and between 15 and 30 years old was 43% and 27%, respectively, which is only a slight shift from 1990 figures (45% and 26%, respectively). This suggests that the structure of the population has not changed much since 1990 and the region remains dominated by young people. The median age for ECOWAS was 18.3 years in 2019, which is higher only than in the East African Community (EAC) and ECCAS. The median age in countries ranges from 15.4 years (Niger) to 26.6 years (Cape Verde); only Ghana and Cape Verde have a median age above 20 years. By 2043, the median age of the region is projected to be 22.1 years, which will be higher only that that for ECCAS.

ECOWAS has the fourth highest youth bulge among the RECs in Africa behind the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the EAC and ECCAS. This was estimated to be about 47.7% in 2019 and is projected to decline to 42.6 in 2043, which is still high. While this large youth bulge can usher in youth activism and positive political changes in the region, it can also increase the likelihood of criminal violence, conflicts and instability, mainly when the needs of the youth, such as employment, cannot be met. Countries with a higher youth bulge within ECOWAS include Guinea (52.1%), Niger (51.8%), Mali (50.3%) and Burkina Faso (50.1%). Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia and Togo are member countries with relatively lower youth bulges (39%, 44%, 36.1% and 46.2%, respectively).

The Current Path forecast shows that by 2043, the proportion of people younger than 15 will decline to 36%, while the proportion of people older than 30 will increase from 30% (2019) to 37%. This will reflect the expected decline in fertility rates, leading to a lower youth bulge and higher median age.

A majority of the ECOWAS population lives in rural areas, although the rate differs among member states. As of 2019, 53.4% of the total population of the subregion resided in rural areas – a decline from about 70% in 1990. This current figure is lower than the average of 57.2% for Africa and the other RECs except for the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), indicating that ECOWAS has a faster urbanisation rate than the continent’s other RECs or the Africa as a whole.

Six member countries had less than half of their populations living in rural areas, namely Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire (both at 49.4%), Liberia (48.2%), Ghana (43.4%), The Gambia (38.4%) and Cape Verde (33.8%). However, Niger (83.6%), Burkina Faso (70.3%) and Guinea (64.2%) all had a high proportion of their populations living in rural areas in 2019.

On the Current Path, it is projected that by 2043, 56.7% of the population of ECOWAS will reside in urban centres. This will still be higher than the average for Africa and the other RECs (except for the AMU).

The population of ECOWAS is settled on a total land area of approximately 6.14 million km2. The population density of the subregion was estimated to be 0.78 people per hectare in 2019, which is the highest among the RECs and greater than the average for Africa (0.45 people per hectare). The Gambia, Nigeria and Togo have the greatest population densities, estimated at 2.33, 2.24 and 1.45 people per hectare, respectively. Countries with the lowest population densities in the region are Liberia (0.51 people per hectare), Niger (0.18 people per hectare) and Mali (0.16 people per hectare).

The population of West Africa is unequally distributed across the region. Settlement patterns in ECOWAS are mostly dependent on climatic factors, soil fertility and economic opportunities. Thus, the population is densely concentrated in arable regions such as the Peanut Basin of western Senegal, the Niger–Nigeria border region, central Burkina Faso and south-western Chad owing to the favourable climatic conditions and high soil fertility. The riverine plains of the Senegal and Niger rivers also have high settlements as a result of the availability of perennial water for irrigation farming. In addition, there are also dense coastal settlements because of the economic opportunities in these areas. In contrast, the northern part of ECOWAS is sparsely populated owing to the arid nature of the area.[1US Geological Survey, West Africa: Land use and land cover dynamics. Population, https://eros.usgs.gov/westafrica/population.]

Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Chart 4: Population density map for 2019
Economics: Current Path

Economics: Current Path

ECOWAS had the fourth largest economy among Africa’s RECs in 2019, with an estimated GDP of US$816.4 billion, representing about 27% of the continent’s economy. This constituted an increase of 234.3% from 1990, when the GDP was estimated at US$244.2 billion.

The economy of ECOWAS is driven mainly by that of Nigeria, whose GDP of US$560.7 billion in 2019 constituted 68.7% of the total economy of ECOWAS; this was higher than all the economies of the other member countries put together. The smallest economies in ECOWAS are those of Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia and Cape Verde, each representing less than 0.3% of the economy of ECOWAS.

It is projected that the GDP of ECOWAS will have more than tripled by 2043, reaching US$2.846 trillion, equivalent to increase of 248.6% over the period. This will increase the share of ECOWAS in Africa’s economy to about 32.6% by 2043. The projected increase in the GDP of ECOWAS will largely be driven by the expected growth in Nigeria, which will account for 69.1% the ECOWAS economy by then.

Although many of the charts in the sectoral scenarios also include GDP per capita, this overview is an essential point of departure for interpreting the general economic outlook for ECOWAS.

The average GDP per capita in ECOWAS increased from US$2 824 in 1990 to US$4 373 in 2019, representing an increase of 54.9% over the period. In 2019, the region’s GDP per capita constituted 82.6% of Africa’s average of US$5 289. It is the fourth highest among the RECs in Africa after AMU, CEN-SAD and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

GDP per capita in member countries varies from US$7 533, US$5 773 and US$4 784 (Cape Verde, Nigeria and Ghana, respectively) to US$1 000, US$1 160 and US$1 427 (Niger, Liberia and Sierra Leone, respectively). The higher GDP per capita in Nigeria can be attributed to the country’s large oil reserves, while Ghana’s is a result of its natural resources such as cocoa, gold and, in recent years, notable oil reserves. In the case of Cape Verde, a buoyant tourism sector, coupled with a relatively small population size, can explain the higher GDP per capita. In contrast, Niger, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are poorer countries, in part because of civil wars and instability.

It is projected that the average GDP per capita of ECOWAS will be US$6 842 by 2043. This will still be below Africa’s Current Path forecast average of US$6 842 and the averages for AMU, CEN-SAD and SADC.

ECOWAS has a large informal economy. In 2019, the informal sector represented 37.4% of the region’s GDP, equivalent to US$279.6 billion. As a percentage of GDP, the informal sector was larger than the average for Africa (25.9%) and the largest among the RECs. The size of the informal sector varies among member states, ranging from as high as 40.9% of GDP in Benin, 39.4% in Liberia and 39.3% in Nigeria to less than 30% in others (21.5% in Cape Verde; 28.6% in Togo; 28.7% in Ghana).

With regard to labour force, the proportion of people employed in the informal sector in ECOWAS averaged 65.3%, which is lower only than in ECCAS (67.8%) and the EAC (71.3%). Only Cape Verde has less than 50% of its labour force employed in the informal sector (35.7%), while the proportion is very high in countries such as Mali (80.9%) and Benin (77.6%).

On the Current Path, it is projected that the size of the informal sector will decline to 31.7% of GDP, seven percentage points higher than the average for Africa and still the highest among the other RECs on the continent. Benin, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia will have an informal sector representing more than 30% of their GDP in 2043. Other countries’ informal sectors are expected to be below this figure (e.g. Cape Verde’s informal sector is estimated to account for 18.1% of GDP by 2043). The proportion of people in informal employment in ECOWAS is estimated to decline to 58.8% on the Current Path over the forecast horizon (ranging from 71.4% in Mali to 30.5% in Cape Verde), lower only than the rate projected for the EAC (59.9%).

The IFs platform uses data from the Global Trade and Analysis Project (GTAP) to classify economic activity into six sectors: agriculture, energy, materials (including mining), manufactures, services and information and communications technology (ICT). Most other sources use a threefold distinction between only agriculture, industry and services, with the result that data may differ.

The three largest contributors to the economy in ECOWAS are services, agriculture and manufacturing. The service sector dominates, having contributed about 52.2% to GDP in 2019 (translating to US$426.1 billion). This was higher than Africa’s average of 50.4% and lower only than in SADC, where the service sector contributed 55.2% to GDP. The contribution of the service sector ranges from 68.4% in Cape Verde to 38% in Sierra Leone. The Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Benin all have service sectors that contributed more than 50% to GDP in 2019.

Agriculture contributed 22.6% to GDP in 2019, equivalent to US$184 billion, while the manufacturing sector’s contribution amounted to US$99.6 billion, representing 12.2% of GDP. The contribution of agriculture to GDP varies substantially between member countries, ranging from 42.2% in Sierra Leone to 11.5% in Cape Verde; in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Guinea the agriculture sector contributes less than 20% to GDP.

The manufacturing sector contributed more than 20% to GDP only in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Benin in 2019, with contributions as low as 4.2% in Liberia and 9.4% in Nigeria. Guinea has a relatively large materials sector, accounting for almost 17% of GDP in 2019.

Consistent with the structural transformation of the economy, the contribution of the service sector is expected to increase and to continue dominating the ECOWAS economy. By 2043, the contribution of the service sector in the region is projected to balloon to about US$1.7 trillion, representing 59.3% of GDP, and higher than Africa's average of 55.4%. This will be driven by the projected growth in services in Cape Verde (71.2%), The Gambia (66.4%) and Nigeria (62.1%). The contribution of agriculture to GDP will decline to 7.9% (equivalent to US$223.5 billion), while that of manufacturing will rise to 20.9% (US$593.6 billion). The manufacturing sector is projected to contribute 35.6% and 30% of GDP in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, respectively, but a paltry 7.2% in Liberia. Only Sierra Leone will have agriculture as a substantial contributor to the economy (about 19.4%) by 2043; in other countries agriculture’s contribution will range from 4.4% (Senegal) to 12.5% (Liberia).

Guinea-Bissau will have the highest contribution of ICT to GDP (7.6%), whereas Sierra Leone is expected to have the lowest contribution from this sector (3.5%). Guinea will still have the highest contribution of materials to GDP (26.3%), whereas in The Gambia it will be less than 1%. The sector is also project to contribute less than 2% to the economies of Nigeria and Cape Verde.

The data on agricultural production and demand in the IFs forecasting platform initialises from data provided on food balances by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). IFs contains data on numerous types of agriculture, but aggregates its forecast into crops, meat and fish, presented in million metric tons. Chart 9 shows agricultural production and demand as a total of all three categories.

Total agriculture demand exceeded production by 41.4 million metric tons in 2019, representing an increase of 602% from the 5.9 million tons recorded in 1990. This points to growing food insecurity in the region.

In terms of production, Nigeria produced about 212.8 million metric tons of crops, meat and fish in 2019. This was the highest production among the ECOWAS member countries. Nigeria’s production was followed by Ghana, which produced 46.1 million metric tons. Cape Verde and The Gambia produced the least: 213 000 and 662 000 tons, respectively. Côte d’Ivoire was the only ECOWAS country where agricultural production exceeded domestic demand in 2019, with a surplus of 570 000 metric tons. Guinea-Bissau reported only a minimal food deficit (56 000 metric tons).

Nigeria — as expected with its large population — had the greatest food import dependence in the region, with domestic demand exceeding production by about 18.4 million metric tons. This was followed by Senegal, which required an additional 3.4 million metric tons.

By 2043, domestic demand in ECOWAS is forecast to exceed production by 327.8 million metric tons. This constitutes an increase of 691.8% in import dependency over the forecast period. No country in ECOWAS is expected to produce enough to meet its domestic demand. Nigeria alone is projected to have an excess demand of about 211.9 million metric tons, followed by Niger (17.9 million metric tons), Ghana (17 million metric tons) and Côte d’Ivoire (14.4 million metric tons.

Poverty: Current Path

Poverty: Current Path

There are numerous methodologies and approaches to defining poverty. We measure income poverty and use GDP per capita as a proxy. In 2015, the World Bank adopted the measure of US$1.90 per person per day (in 2011 international prices), also used to measure progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 1 of eradicating extreme poverty. To account for extreme poverty in richer countries occurring at slightly higher levels of income than in poor countries, the World Bank introduced three additional poverty lines in 2017:

  • US$3.20 for lower middle-income countries 
  • US$5.50 for upper middle-income countries
  • US$22.70 for high-income countries.

The ECOWAS region has high levels of poverty among its population. In 2019, the number of people who lived below the poverty line of US$1.90 was estimated to be about 150.2 million, constituting about 38.5% of the population. This makes it the region with the fourth highest poverty rate after ECCAS (55.9%), EAC (51.5%) and SADC (51.1%), and pitches it slightly above Africa’s average of 34.8%.

Poverty levels differ substantially among member countries. Guinea-Bissau and Liberia are the poorest in the region, with extreme poverty affecting 63.9% and 62.9% of the populations, respectively. Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Nigeria also have high poverty rates (49.7%, 49.6%, 45.6% and 44.6%, respectively). Cape Verde has the lowest poverty rate in the region (2.2%), followed by Ghana and The Gambia, with poverty rates of 9.7% and 10.8%, respectively.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened poverty levels in the region owing to the loss of livelihoods and business as a result of restrictions. By 2021, the total number of poor people increased to 172.6 million, equivalent to a poverty rate of 41.8%. The absolute number of poor people in the region is projected to increase to 186.7 million by 2034, after which it is set to decline to 176.4 million by 2043. This will translate into a decrease in the proportion of people living below US$1.90 a day to 24.4%, 3.5 percentage points higher than Africa’s average. By 2043, extreme poverty among member countries will range from 43.5% in Guinea-Bissau to 0.9% in Cape Verde. Senegal will experience faster poverty reduction, going from 29.7% in 2019 to about 6.9% in 2043, whereas Ghana’s poverty rate will come down slowly, to about 7%, in this period. The poverty rate in The Gambia is expected to decline from 10.8% in 2019 to 2.1% by 2043. Mali, Togo, Liberia and Sierra Leone are all expected to have extreme poverty rates above 30% by 2043.

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

Carbon Emissions/Energy: Current Path

The IFs platform forecasts six types of energy, namely oil, gas, coal, hydropower, nuclear and other renewables. To allow comparisons between different types of energy, the data is converted into billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE). The energy contained in a barrel of oil is approximately 5.8 million British thermal units (MBTUs) or 1 700 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy.

Since 1990, oil has been the dominant type of energy produced in the ECOWAS region. In that year, total production was estimated at 636 million BOE, constituting 95% of total energy production. By 2019 it was 909 million BOE in 2019, representing 64% of total energy production. Oil production in the region is driven mainly by the large oil reserves in Nigeria, which, in 2019, accounted for about 93% of the total production in the region. The remaining production came from Ghana and Niger, constituting 5.2% and 1.2%, respectively.

The production of gas has increased significantly between 1990 and 2019, going from 24 million BOE (equivalent to 4% of total energy production) to 481 million BOE. The 2019 figure represents 34% of total energy production. Nigeria contributes about 87% of total gas production. Other significant sources include Côte d’Ivoire (3.6%), Mali (2.6%), Burkina Faso (2.4%) and Guinea (2.35%).

By 2043, gas will be the dominant energy being produced in the region, with a projected output of 1.2 billion BOE (46% of total energy production). This will be complemented by oil production, estimated to reach 1.1 billion BOE and constituting 40% of total energy production. Hydropower is expected to contribute 2% of total energy production by then, with other renewable sources expected to contribute the remaining 12%.

Nigeria’s share in total oil production is expected to have slightly increased, to 96.3%, by 2043, while Ghana’s is expected to decline to 3.0%. Likewise, Nigeria’s share in gas production will increase to 91.1%, while that of Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea will decline to 2.9% and 1.9%, respectively. Nigeria and Ghana will be the main producers of energy from other renewable sources, with the two countries contributing an estimated 81.5% of the total by 2043 (Nigeria: 48.2%; Ghana: 33.3%).

Carbon is released in many ways, but the three most important contributors to greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and methane (CH4). Since each has a different molecular weight, IFs uses carbon. Many other sites and calculations use CO2 equivalent.

In 1990, ECOWAS as a subregion emitted a total of 16 million tons of carbon. This increased to 62 million tons in 2019, representing an increase of 287.5%. Among member countries, Nigeria is the highest emitter of carbon (39 million tons; 63.5% of total emissions), mainly because of its energy production activities. Nigeria is followed by Ghana (9% of the region’s emissions) and Côte d’Ivoire (7.2%).

By 2043, total carbon emissions are projected to have more than quadrupled, to 280 million tons. This represents an increase of 351% over the forecast period. Nigeria will increase its share of carbon emission in the region to 70.7%, followed by Côte d’Ivoire at 6.6% and Senegal at 4.7%. The projected higher emissions in Nigeria reflect the country’s expected economic growth and the huge volumes of oil and gas it will produce. It is significant to note that Ghana will reduce its share of carbon emissions to 1.4% by 2043. This can be attributed to the country moving from conventional energy production to other renewables, which is expected to constitute 75% of its total energy production by 2043.

Stability scenario

Stability scenario

The Stability scenario represents reasonable but ambitious reductions in risk of regime instability and lower levels of internal conflict. Stability is generally a prerequisite for other aspects of development and this would encourage inflows of foreign direct investment (FDI) and improve business confidence. Better governance through the accountability that follows substantive democracy is modelled separately.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The ECOWAS region has had its fair share of instability due to political upheaval, civil wars (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire), religious clashes (Benin, Nigeria, Mali) or coups d’état (The Gambia, Niger, Togo, Guinea) and terrorist attacks or violent extremism.

IFs’ governance security index ranges from 0 (low security) to 1 (high security). In 2019, the region scored 0.70 on the index, which was third highest among the RECs in Africa, after AMU and CEN-SAD, and above Africa’s average of 0.69. Cape Verde, Ghana and Senegal have the highest country scores (0.81, 0.79 and 0.74, respectively). This points to a relatively higher level of stability in these countries. Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire have the lowest scores (0.66, 0.66 and 0.67, respectively). These are countries with histories of either political instability, war or threat of violent extremism and terrorism. In the Stability scenario, ECOWAS’s government security index score is expected to rise to 0.84 by 2043, which will be higher than the Current Path forecast of 0.75 and the average of 0.74 for Africa. In the Stability scenario, Cape Verde, Ghana and Senegal will still have the highest scores, while Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo and Guinea-Bissau will score worst, signalling the potential for instability in these countries.

A stable environment serves as a catalyst for development as it attracts foreign investment and ensures the continuation and growth of businesses. The Stability scenario will increase the GDP per capita of ECOWAS from US$4 373 in 2019 to US$7 099 in 2043, slightly below the projected average of US$7 157 for Africa. This will be US$257 more than the forecast on the Current Path for 2043., GDP per capita in the Stability scenario will differ significantly among member countries, ranging from US$11 074 in Cape Verde to US$2 305 in Niger. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Niger are expected to have a GDP per capita below US$3 000, whereas in Senegal, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire it is expected to be above US$6 800.

In the Stability scenario, the number of people living in extreme poverty in the ECOWAS region (using a threshold of US$1.90) is projected to be 165.9 million by 2043, which will be equivalent to 23% of the population. This will be 1.4 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast for the same year. It means that if the Stability scenario were to materialise, 10.5 million fewer people would be living in extreme poverty in the ECOWAS region. However, the projection of extreme poverty rates for ECOWAS in the Stability scenario is 2.1 percentage points greater than the average for Africa by 2043.

Among member countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea-Bissau will see the greatest reduction in extreme poverty compared to the Current Path (2.8, 2.2 and 1.8 percentage points, respectively. This can be attributed to high levels of poverty in these countries, coupled with their history of instability. A stable environment will therefore rapidly affect poverty reductions. Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde will benefit least in terms of poverty reduction from the Stability scenario, with paltry declines in poverty rates (0.32, 0.26 and 0.06 percentage points, respectively) compared with the Current Path.

Demographic scenario

Demographic scenario

This section presents the impact of a Demographic scenario that aims to hasten and increase the demographic dividend through reasonable but ambitious reductions in the communicable-disease burden for children under five, the maternal mortality ratio and increased access to modern contraception. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Demographers typically differentiate between a first, second and even a third demographic dividend. We focus here on the contribution of the size of the labour force (between 15 and 64 years of age) relative to dependants (children and the elderly) as part of the first dividend. A window of opportunity opens when the ratio of the working-age population to dependants is equal to or surpasses 1.7.

In 2019, the ratio of the working-age population to dependants for ECOWAS was 1.17, which means that for about every 1.2 people of working age supported one dependant. This was lower than the ratio of 1.3 recorded for Africa and the third lowest ratio among the continent’s RECs (the ratios for ECCAS and EAC were 1.15 and 1.10, respectively). The ratio suggests that, on average, the ECOWAS region has a relatively higher number of dependent populations compared with other RECs on the continent. At 1.8, the AMU has the highest ratio of working-age population to dependants among the regions.

Among ECOWAS member countries, Cape Verde has the highest ratio of working-age population to dependants (about 2.0), followed by Ghana and Sierra Leone (1.5 and 1.3, respectively). The ratio is worst in The Gambia, Mali and Niger (1.13, 1.02 and 0.93, respectively).

Generally, a demographic dividend occurs at a ratio of at least 1.7 working-age people to dependants. It is projected that the Demographic scenario will increase this ratio to 1.57 by 2043, meaning that the region will not achieve a demographic dividend by then. The ratio will be slightly below the average of 1.58 for Africa, but 0.12 higher than what is projected on the Current Path. The impact among member countries will differ, with ratios ranging from 2.1 (Cape Verde) to 1.4 (Niger). The countries that will experience the greatest change in their ratio of working-age population to dependants as a result of the Demographic scenario are Ghana, Liberia and Togo, with improvements of 0.241, 0.236 and 0.213, respectively. Niger and Nigeria will see the smallest change in their ratios (0.091 and 0.083, respectively).

The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths per 1 000 live births and is an important marker of the overall quality of the health system in a country.

In 2019, the infant mortality rate in ECOWAS was estimated to be 58.6 deaths per 1 000 live births, which means that for every 1 000 people born, about 59 died. This is higher than the average of 46.8 for Africa and also the highest among all the RECs on the continent. Among member countries, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Mali have the highest infant mortality rates (68.9, 67.5 and 57.3 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively). The infant mortality rate is lowest in Senegal, The Gambia and Cape Verde (30.5, 29.9 and 16.6 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively).

In the Demographic scenario, it is projected that infant mortality in the region will decline to 25.9 death per 1 000 live births, which will be slightly above Africa’s average of 25.6 but lower than the 32.4 projected in the Current Path forecast. By 2043, Nigeria (32.6), Côte d’Ivoire (23.8) and Sierra Leone (23.3) have the highest infant mortality rates in the Demographic scenario, while the rates are lowest for Niger (9.7), The Gambia (9.4) and Cape Verde.

The Demographic scenario is expected to have the greatest impact in Nigeria, Guinea and Sierra Leone, with the infant mortality rate projected to drop by 8.5, 7.1 and 6.3 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively. The Gambia, Senegal and Cape Verde will experience the smallest reductions in this scenario, namely a drop of 5, 2.0 and 1.8 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively.

The Demographic scenario is projected to increase the average GDP per capita for ECOWAS to US$7 022 by 2043. This will be US$180 more than in the Current Path forecast, but US$135 less than the average for Africa in the same year. In the Demographic scenario, Ghana, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire are forecast to benefit the most, with gains of US$215, US$202 and US$174, respectively, compared with the Current Path forecast. In contrast, Sierra Leone, Niger and Cape Verde will see the smallest gains (US$89, US$57 and US$27, respectively).

In the Demographic scenario, the number of people living in extreme poverty in ECOWAS is projected to be 164.2 million, equivalent to 23.4% of the population, by 2043. This is one percentage point below the region’s Current Path forecast of 24.4%, but higher than that of Africa (20.9%). It means that compared with the Current Path forecast, the Demographic scenario has the potential to lift an additional 12.2 million people from extreme poverty by 2043.

The scenario has the greatest impact on poverty reduction in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, such that it leads to respective reductions of 2.9, 2.5 and 1.7 percentage points in the poverty rate in these countries. The impact of the Demographic scenario on poverty is smallest in Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde, with the poverty rate reducing by 0.60, 0.21 and 0.01 percentage points, respectively.

Health/WaSH scenario

Health/WaSH scenario

This section presents reasonable but ambitious improvements in the Health/WaSH scenario, which include reductions in the mortality rate associated with both communicable diseases (e.g. AIDS, diarrhoea, malaria and respiratory infections) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (e.g. diabetes), as well as improvements in access to safe water and better sanitation. The acronym WaSH stands for water, sanitation and hygiene.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, the average life expectancy for people in the ECOWAS region was 64.7 years, which was lower than the average of 65.8 years for Africa. It was the fifth highest among the RECs in Africa (after AMU, CEN-SAD, COMESA and IGAD). Among member countries, life expectancy was highest in Cape Verde (73.4 years) and The Gambia (68.9 years) and lowest in Sierra Leone (61 years) and Guinea-Bissau (59.7 years).

In the Current Path forecast, life expectancy in the region will increase to 72.6 years by 2043. However, the Health/WaSH scenario leads to a greater increase, such that by 2043, the average life expectancy in the ECOWAS region is projected to be around 73.6 years. This will be higher than the projected average of 72.1 years for Africa in the same year. In the Health/WaSH scenario, Cape Verde and The Gambia will still have the highest life expectancy in the region (77.7 years and 75.2 years, respectively). Guinea and Guinea-Bissau will have the lowest life expectancy (70.1 years and 67.7 years, respectively). The largest increase in life expectancy between the Current Path and Health/WaSH scenarios will occur in Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali, which will see averages increase by 1.4, 0.87 and 0.85 years, respectively. The smallest increments will be seen in Benin, Senegal and The Gambia, with life expectancy lengthening by only 0.35, 0.09 and 0.06 years, respectively.

The infant mortality rate in ECOWAS was estimated to be 58.6 per 1 000 live births in 2019, which means that for every 1 000 people born, about 59 died. This was higher than the average of 46.8 for Africa. It was also the highest among all the RECs in Africa. Among member countries, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Mali had the highest infant mortality rates (68.9, 67.5 and 57.3 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively). Senegal, The Gambia and Cape Verde had the lowest rates in the region (30.5, 29.9 and 16.6 deaths per 1 000 live births, respectively).

In the Health/WaSH scenario, the infant mortality rate is projected to decline to 27.8 per 1 000 live births, which will be lower than the Current Path forecast of 32.4 but higher than the African average of 25.6. It means that the infant mortality rate will decline by 6.8 deaths in the Health/WaSH scenario compared with the Current Path forecast. Among member countries, the rate will range from 34.7 deaths per 1 000 live births (Nigeria) to 10.8 deaths per 1 000 live births (Niger) by 2043. The greatest reductions in infant mortality given the Health/WaSH scenario will occur in Nigeria, Guinea and Burkina Faso, whereas the smallest reductions are expected in Cape Verde, Senegal and The Gambia.

Agriculture scenario

Agriculture scenario

The Agriculture scenario represents reasonable but ambitious increases in yields per hectare (reflecting better management and seed and fertiliser technology), increased land under irrigation and reduced loss and waste. Where appropriate, it includes an increase in calorie consumption, reflecting the prioritisation of food self-sufficiency above food exports as a desirable policy objective.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The data on yield per hectare (in metric tons) is for crops but does not distinguish between different categories of crops.

In 2019, the average crop yield in the ECOWAS region was 3.90 metric tons per hectare, which was slightly below the average of 3.94 for Africa. It is the fourth highest yield among the RECs in Africa (after COMESA, SADC and CEN-SAD). Among member countries, Ghana has the highest crop yield per hectare (6.7 metric tons), followed by Nigeria (5.6 metric tons) and Sierra Leone (5.2 metric tons). The countries with the lowest yields per hectare are Togo (1.6 metric tons), The Gambia (1.2 metric tons) and Niger (0.81 metric tons).

By 2043, the Agriculture scenario will increase the region’s yield to 7.6 metric tons per hectare, which will be higher than the Current Path forecast of 5.1 metric tons and the average of 4.8 metric tons for Africa. This means that the Agriculture scenario could improve average crop yield by an additional 2.5 metric tons per hectare in the region. This will range from 12 metric tons per hectare in Ghana to 1.9 metric tons per hectare in Niger. Countries that will benefit most from interventions in the Agriculture scenario are Guinea-Bissau, Ghana and Nigeria, with expected gains of 4.1, 3.5 and 3.4 metric tons per hectare, respectively. Togo, Mali and Niger will benefit least, with expected gains projected to be only 1.7, 1.3 and 0.88 metric tons per hectare, respectively.

The average net agricultural import as percentage of total agricultural demand in ECOWAS was 8.7% in 2019, below the average of 10.9% for Africa. It was also below the averages for AMU, CEN-SAD, COMESA and IGAD. However, agricultural imports differ significantly across member countries. For example, Cape Verde imports 51.7% of its agricultural demand, followed by The Gambia and Senegal, which import 49.1% and 30.7% of total demand respectively. In contrast, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau also have relatively low food import dependence at 6% and 4.5% of total demand, respectively. Only Côte d’Ivoire produced enough for its domestic consumption, with a surplus equivalent to 1.3% of total demand in 2019.

In the Current Path forecast, net agricultural imports in the ECOWAS region will grow to 39.5% of total demand by 2043. This situation is mitigated in the Agriculture scenario, so that by 2043, net agricultural imports will be 10.2% of total demand. This is lower than the average of 34.5% for Africa.

In the Agriculture scenario, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Guinea-Bissau will all become net exporters of agricultural products. In fact, Guinea and Ghana will export agricultural produce equivalent to about 27% and 13% of total demand, respectively. Other countries in the region will continue to depend on agricultural imports, with The Gambia and Cape Verde expected to import more than 35% of their total demand by 2043. The Agriculture scenario will reduce agricultural import dependency by 61.7% of total demand in Guinea-Bissau, 48.4% in Burkina Faso and 47.3% in Togo. Countries that will experience the smallest reduction in agricultural import dependency are Cape Verde, Mali and The Gambia, with reductions equivalent to 16.5%, 22.8% and 24.3% of total demand, respectively.

In the Agriculture scenario, the average GDP per capita for ECOWAS will rise to US$7 296 by 2043. This represents a gain of US$454 compared with the forecast on the Current Path, and is also more than the projected average of US$7 157 for Africa. Gains in GDP per capita in the Agriculture scenario range from US$889 for Guinea-Bissau to US$79 for Ghana. Nigeria and Senegal will also benefit substantially, with respective projected gains of US$568 and US$529 compared with the Current Path forecast.

In the Agriculture scenario, 138.1 million people are expected to be living in extreme poverty (at the threshold of US$1.90 per day) by 2043. This corresponds to 19.1% of the ECOWAS population, slightly lower than the estimated average of 20.9% for Africa’s population by that time. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the poverty rate will be 5.3 percentage points lower in the Agriculture scenario, translating to 38.3 million fewer people living in extreme poverty. The potential of the Agriculture scenario to lift people out of poverty is not surprising, given that a significant number of people in the region are employed in the agricultural sector.

The impact of the Agriculture scenario with regard to poverty reduction varies substantially among member countries. Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Togo are expected to experience the greatest reductions in poverty rate, with reductions of 14.8, 14.7 and 11.3 percentage points relative to the Current Path, respectively. Senegal, The Gambia and Cape Verde are set to experience the smallest reductions, with rates dropping by 2.1, 0.7 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively.

Education scenario

Education scenario

The Education scenario represents reasonable but ambitious improved intake, transition and graduation rates from primary to tertiary levels and better quality of education. It also models substantive progress towards gender parity at all levels, additional vocational training at secondary school level and increases in the share of science and engineering graduates.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

The average years of education among the adult population (aged 15 years and older) is a good indicator of the stock of education in a country or a region.

In the ECOWAS region, adults had received an estimated 6.7 years of education in 2019. This is higher than the average of 6.2 years for Africa. Among the continent’s RECs, ECOWAS recorded the second highest duration (after the AMU). The mean years of education for men was 7.5 years compared with 5.8 years for women, meaning that, on average, men are likely to attain longer education compared with women in the region.

Among member countries, Nigeria, Cape Verde and Ghana have the highest mean years of education, with averages of 8.2, 7.9 and 7.8 years, respectively. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have the lowest means, at 3.7, 3.0 and 2.7 years, respectively. In the Education scenario, it is projected that the mean years of education in ECOWAS will rise to 8.3 years, which will be higher than the Current Path forecast of 7.9 years and the average of 7.6 years for Africa. The Education scenario also reduces the gender gap between men and women from 1.7 years in 2019 to 1.1 years by 2043 (the gap is 1.2 years in the Current Path forecast). By 2043, Cape Verde will have the highest mean years of education (9.4 years), followed by Nigeria (9.3 years) and Ghana (9.2 years). Countries with the lowest mean years of education will be Mali (5.7 years), Burkina Faso (5.6 years) and Niger (5.4 years). Compared with the Current path forecast, countries that will benefit most from the Education scenario are Niger, Guinea and Mali, with improvements of 0.71 years, 0.60 years and 0.51 years of education, respectively. Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cape Verde will benefit least in the Education scenario.

The quality of education is more important than just the quantity. An important measure of the quality of education is the test scores of students. In 2019, the average test score for primary learners in the ECOWAS region was 31.4, which was the same as Africa’s average and the fourth highest among the continent’s RECs (after the AMU, SADC and CEN-SAD). Togo, Cape Verde and Nigeria have the highest test scores for primary learners in the region, at 35.5, 35.1 and 34.4, respectively. The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso have the lowest test scores for primary learners, at 25, 24.5 and 21.9, respectively.

In the Education scenario, the average test score for primary learners is set to increase to 38.7, which is above both the Current Path forecast and Africa’s average of 33.3. It will range from 46 in Cape Verde to 30.5 in Burkina Faso among member countries.

In 2019, the average test score for secondary learners in the region was 39.3, close to the average of 39.1 for Africa. It was the third highest among the African RECs (after the AMU and CEN-SAD). Again, Cape Verde, Nigeria and Togo have the highest test scores for secondary learners, averaging 43.9, 42.9 and 40.4, respectively. The countries with the lowest performance in the region are Burkina Faso (33.5), Mali (32.6) and Niger (32.3).

In the Current Path forecast, an average test score of 39.1 is projected for secondary learners. In the Education scenario, the average test score for secondary learners is expected to improve to 45.6 by 2043, which will be higher than the average of 40 projected for Africa by then. Cape Verde will likely fare best, with a score of 56.7, followed by Togo and Benin, with scores of 53.8 and 49.5, respectively. Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are expected to record the lowest performance in the region, with test scores of 42.8, 42.7 and 40.0, respectively.

Compared with the Current Path forecast, countries that will record the greatest improvements are Togo, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone, while Mali, Nigeria and Niger will record the smallest improvements in average test scores.

The Education scenario will lead to GDP per capita in the ECOWAS region increasing to US$7 099 by 2043, above the Current Path forecast of US$6 842. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Education scenario therefore adds US$257 to the average GDP per capita in the region. However, the average estimated GDP per capita in the Education scenario will still be lower than the average for Africa (US$7 157).

Countries that will benefit most from the Education scenario are Cape Verde, Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire, gaining US$301, US$277 and US$250 in average GDP per capita, respectively. Liberia, Togo and Sierra Leone will benefit least from the Education scenario, with estimated increments in GDP per capita at US$91, US$87 and US$71, respectively.

In the Education scenario, approximately 161.5 million people are expected to live in extreme poverty (at the US$1.90 per day threshold) in the ECOWAS region by 2043, representing 22.4% of the population. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Education scenario will result in a decline in extreme poverty by two percentage points, translating to 14.9 million people. However, the region’s projected poverty rate in the Education scenario will still be greater than the estimated average of 20.9% for Africa by 2043. Reductions in poverty rates are expected to range from three percentage points (in Guinea) to 0.12 percentage points (in Cape Verde).

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

Manufacturing/transfers scenario

The Manufacturing/Transfers scenario represents reasonable but ambitious manufacturing growth through greater investment in the economy, investments in research and development, and promotion of the export of manufactured goods. It is accompanied by an increase in welfare transfers (social grants) to moderate the initial increases in inequality that are typically associated with a manufacturing transition. To this end, the scenario improves tax administration and increases government revenues.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Chart 30 should be read with Chart 8, which presents a stacked area graph of the contribution to GDP and size, in billion US$, of the Current Path economy for each of the sectors.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, all sectors are expected to increase in size compared with the Current Path forecast in 2043. The service sector is projected to be the leading contributor to GDP in ECOWAS by 2043 and its contribution will likely be about US$200 billion larger in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario than in the Current Path forecast. As a percentage of GDP, the contribution of the service sector in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will peak at 0.67 percentage points above the Current Path in 2033, and then decline to 0.16 percentage points above the Current Path by 2043. The manufacturing sector, which is the second largest contributor to GDP, is projected to contribute an additional US$90.9 billion to GDP in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario. This corresponds to 0.69 percentage points above the Current Path forecast. The contribution of agriculture will increase modestly (US$2 billion) by 2043, although in relative terms, its contribution will decline to 0.75 percentage points below the Current Path forecast. ICT is projected to contribute an additional US$23.2 billion to GDP in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario in 2043. This corresponds to 0.10 percentage points above the Current Path. The contribution of energy to GDP in the Manufacturing/Transfer scenario is projected to decline to 0.22 percentage points below the Current Path forecast by 2043.

Sectoral contribution differs across member countries. Nigeria will experience the largest absolute increase in the service sector in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, adding US$135 billion. This will be followed by Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, with contributions of US$8.9 billion and US$8.6 billion, respectively. The smallest increase in absolute terms from the service sector will be experienced by Liberia, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, with contributions being below US$500 million. Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana will experience the largest contributions to GDP from Manufacturing, valued at US$58.7 billion, US$7.5 billion and US$5.1 billion, respectively. Manufacturing will contribute least to GDP in Liberia and Cape Verde, with values of US$85 million and US$64 million, respectively. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will range from US$1.2 billion in Nigeria to US$800 000 in Cape Verde.

Welfare transfers are usually offered by governments to impoverished citizens, especially those who are unemployed, elderly or poor. In the ECOWAS region, welfare transfers were estimated to have amounted to US$18.7 billion in 2019. Among member countries, a significant proportion of these transfers were in Nigeria and Ghana, mainly owing to their larger economies and population. Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia had the least estimated government transfers. By 2043, it is projected that government welfare transfers will increase to US$127.2 billion, representing an increase of 580.2% over the forecast period. This is higher than the estimated US$84.4 billion in the Current Path forecast.

By 2043, the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario is set to lead to an increase of US$533 in GDP per capita in the ECOWAS region compared with the Current Path forecast. The estimated value is US$218 more than the average expected for Africa. Increases in average GDP per capita in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will range from US$737 in Cape Verde and US$708 in Nigeria to US$150 in Niger and US$123 in Liberia.

In the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario, the rate of extreme poverty in the ECOWAS region is projected to be 21.7%, equivalent to 156.8 million people. This means that, by 2043, the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario could result in 19.6 million fewer people living in poverty than in the Current Path forecast. The projected poverty rate in the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario will be 2.7 percentage points lower than in the Current Path forecast. However, it will still be higher than the projected average of 20.9% for Africa. Sierra Leone, Guinea and Niger are set to record the greatest reduction in extreme poverty rates, while Togo, The Gambia and Cape Verde will experience the smallest reductions.

Leapfrogging scenario

Leapfrogging scenario

The Leapfrogging scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious adoption of and investment in renewable energy technologies, resulting in better access to electricity in urban and rural areas. The scenario includes accelerated access to mobile and fixed broadband and the adoption of modern technology that improves government efficiency and allows for the more rapid formalisation of the informal sector.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

Fixed broadband includes cable modem Internet connections, DSL Internet connections of at least 256 KB/s, fibre and other fixed broadband technology connections (such as satellite broadband Internet, ethernet local area networks, fixed-wireless access, wireless local area networks, WiMAX, etc.).

Internet access is necessary for achieving sustainable economic development as it leads to increased productivity. In 2019, the total number of fixed-broadband subscriptions in ECOWAS averaged 2.2 subscriptions per 100 people, below the average of 3.2 subscriptions per 100 people in Africa. It is higher only than for IGAD and ECCAS among the RECs. In 2019, fixed-broadband subscriptions in ECOWAS countries ranged from about 10 per 100 people in Cape Verde to 1.7 and 1.5 per 100 people in Senegal and Nigeria, respectively. Sierra Leone was in the middle of the range at 4.7 subscriptions per 100 people.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, fixed-broadband subscriptions are projected to increase to 46.7 per 100 people by 2043, which is above the projected average of 27.7 per 100 people for Africa. It means that compared with the Current Path forecast, the Leapfrogging scenario could improve fixed-broadband subscriptions in the region by an additional 21.4 per 100 people in 2043. Countries that will experience the largest increase in subscriptions in this scenario are Senegal, Côte d’lvoire and Nigeria, with gains of, respectively, 25.6, 23.8 and 23.1 subscriptions per 100 people compared with the Current Path forecast. Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and The Gambia will see the smallest growth, with respective gains of 7.5, 7.2 and 4.1 subscriptions per 100 people compared with the Current Path forecast.

Mobile broadband refers to wireless Internet access delivered through cellular towers to computers and other digital devices.

The growth of mobile broadband on the continent has been more rapid than fixed broadband. By 2019, the average mobile broadband subscription for ECOWAS was 36.4 subscriptions per 100 people, below the average of 40.5 subscriptions per 100 people for Africa. Among the RECs in Africa, ECOWAS had the fourth highest number of mobile broadband subscriptions (after the AMU: 91.6; CEN-SAD: 43.6; and SADC: 37.3).

Ghana had the highest number of mobile broadband subscriptions in 2019, estimated at 102.5 per 100 people. It was followed by Cape Verde and Côte d’Ivoire, with 88.5 and 71.6 subscriptions per 100 people, respectively. Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Liberia had the lowest subscription rates, estimated at 21.4, 11.2 and 10.2 per 100 people, respectively. Between 2024 and 2036, the Leapfrogging scenario is expected to lead to a substantial improvement in access to mobile broadband, such that by 2026, it would contributes an additional 30 subscriptions per 100 people compared with the Current Path forecast. However, in the long term, the two forecasts converge, so that by 2043, the difference between the Leapfrogging scenario and the Current Path is just one subscription per 100 people.

At 146 subscriptions per 100 people estimated for the Leapfrogging scenario, ECOWAS will have more subscriptions than the projected average of 141.8 for Africa by 2043. The Gambia, Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone are expected to have the highest mobile subscription rates (156.2, 155.7 and 154.7 subscriptions per 100 people, respectively), while Liberia, Niger and Mali will have the lowest rates (147.3, 144.1 and 123.1 subscriptions per 100 people, respectively).

Liberia benefits the most from the Leapfrogging intervention, gaining an additional 10 subscriptions over the Current Path forecast. This is followed by Sierra Leone and The Gambia, gaining 2.8 and 2.6 subscriptions per 100 people, respectively. Guinea-Bissau, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Ghana will benefit least from the interventions in the Leapfrogging scenario, all gaining less than 1 subscription per 100 people.

In 2019, an estimated 196 million people had access to electricity in the ECOWAS region, constituting 50.3% of the population. This was below the average for Africa (53.2%) and the fourth highest among the RECs after the AMU (97.3%), CEN-SAD (61.1%) and COMESA (50.9%).

However, access is disparate, with 74.8% of urban residents having access to electricity compared with only 29.6% of rural dwellers. Countries with high electricity access rates in the region are Cape Verde (87.9%), Ghana (80.1%) and Senegal (66.9%). At the bottom are Sierra Leone, Liberia and Niger, with electricity access rates of 22.5%, 20.9% and 19.3%, respectively.

The Leapfrogging scenario will increase access to electricity to 609.8 million people, representing 84.4% of the ECOWAS population, compared with 524.3 million people (72.5% of the population) in the Current Path forecast. The Leapfrogging scenario could therefore see an additional 85.5 million people (about 11% of the population) getting access to electricity.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, 91% of urban residents will have access to electricity by 2043, compared with 76.4% of people in rural areas. The Current Path forecast in the same year projects 56.4% access for rural dwellers and 86.3% for people in urban areas. It means that the Leapfrogging scenario reduces the location disparity by 15.4 percentage points.

In the Leapfrogging scenario, almost all people in Senegal will have access to electricity. This will be followed by Ghana and Cape Verde, with projected access rates of 97.2% and 97.0%, respectively. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Niger will have the lowest electricity access rates. Guinea, Niger and Burkina Faso will experience the largest improvements in the Leapfrogging scenario, with increases in access of 16.1, 16 and 15.3 percentage points compared with the Current Path. Ghana and Cape Verde will see the smallest improvement (8.5 and 2.9 percentage points, respectively).

On the Current Path, the average GDP per capita for ECOWAS is forecast to increase to US$6 842 by 2043. However, the Leapfrogging scenario will lead to substantial increase, such that by 2043, it results in gains of US$481 compared with the Current Path forecast. The projected average GDP per capita in the Leapfrogging scenario will also be US$166 greater than the average for Africa. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Leapfrogging scenario will lead to the greatest improvement in GDP per capita in Nigeria (US$604), Mali (US$483) and Senegal (US$449). Countries that can expect the least improvement in GDP per capita compared with the Current Path forecast are Sierra Leone, Niger and Liberia, gaining US$194, US$102 and US$44, respectively.

The Leapfrogging scenario will lead to extreme poverty (at the US$1.90 threshold) reducing to 157.1 million by 2043, representing 21.8% of the ECOWAS population. This will be 2.6 percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast, meaning that the Leapfrogging scenario could lift an additional 19.3 million people in the ECOWAS region out of extreme poverty by 2043. The rate by which poverty will reduce in the Leapfrogging scenario will range from 5.3 percentage points in Mali to 0.11 percentage points in Cape Verde compared to the Current Path projections. Sierra Leone and Guinea will experience reductions of 3.8 and 3.0 percentage points in poverty rate, respectively, while Ghana and The Gambia will achieve modest reductions of 1.0 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively, by 2043.

Free Trade scenario

Free Trade scenario

The Free Trade scenario represents the impact of the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by 2034 through increases in exports, improved productivity and increased trade and economic freedom.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website. 

The trade balance is the difference between the value of a country's exports and its imports. A country that imports more goods and services than it exports in terms of value has a trade deficit, while a country that exports more goods and services than it imports has a trade surplus.

The trade balance of ECOWAS was negative, signifying that the region is a net importer of goods and services. In 2019, the total export value of ECOWAS was estimated at US$114.5 billion while its total imports were valued at US$170.4 billion. The total trade deficit stood at 7.2% of GDP, above the average of 5.9% for Africa but lower than the average for SADC, the AMU and ECCAS. All the ECOWAS member countries had a trade deficit, ranging from 2.3% of GDP in Côte d’Ivoire to as high as 36.3% of GDP in Liberia.

In both the Current Path forecast and the Free Trade scenario, the trade deficit worsens in the short term, bottoming at about 10% of GDP in 2026, and then improves. However, the improvement is faster in the Free Trade scenario. By 2043, ECOWAS’s trade deficit will improve to just 1.8% of GDP in the Free Trade scenario, lower than the average of 3.3% of GDP for Africa. It will also be about three percentage points lower than the Current Path forecast.

In the Free Trade scenario, only Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria will have a trade surplus by 2043, estimated to be about 2.5% and 0.1% of GDP, respectively; however, the remaining countries will all have trade deficits , ranging from 2.3% of GDP in Ghana to 33.3% of GDP in Sierra Leone.

The countries that will experience the most significant improvements in trade balance compared to the Current Path forecast are Nigeria and Ghana, with improvements of 5.6 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively. Cape Verde and Togo will be the worst impacted, with a decline of 6.3 and 7.3 percentage points, respectively.

In the Free Trade scenario, average GDP per capita is projected to increase by US$793 compared with the Current Path forecast by 2043. The expected average GDP per capita of US$7 635 in this scenario will be US$478 higher than the average for Africa. The impact of the Free Trade scenario on GDP per capita is highest in Cape Verde, Nigeria and Senegal, with gains of US$1 195, US$1 055 and US$909 above the Current Path forecast, respectively. The Free Trade scenario will benefit per capita GDP least in Sierra Leone, Niger and Liberia, resulting in gains of only US$292, US$239 and US$207, respectively.

Extreme poverty will decline faster in the Free Trade scenario than on the Current Path. By 2043, it is projected that 150.3 million people in the ECOWAS region, constituting 20.8% of the population, will be living in extreme poverty. This means that the Free Trade scenario could reduce the poverty rate by 3.6 percentage points, equivalent to 26.1 million people.

However, the projected poverty rate in the Free Trade scenario will be 0.1 percentage point below the average for Africa. Sierra Leone, Mali and Guinea will achieve the highest reduction in poverty rate (10.0, 7.1 and 5.9 percentage points, respectively). Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde will experience the least improvement, namely reductions of 1.3, 0.7, 0.3 percentage points, respectively.

Financial Flows scenario

Financial Flows scenario

The Financial Flows scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in worker remittances and aid flows to poor countries, and an increase in the stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) and additional portfolio investment inflows to middle-income countries. We also reduced outward financial flows to emulate a reduction in illicit financial outflows.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, the total amount of aid to the ECOWAS region from foreign donors amounted to US$20.7 billion, constituting 2.7% of GDP. This is above the average for Africa (2.4%), SADC (2.5%), CEN-SAD (2.2%) and the AMU (1.0%). Among member countries, aid as a percentage of GDP varies significantly, being highest in Liberia (31.3% of GDP), followed by Sierra Leone (20.8%) and The Gambia (14.1%). Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria received the least aid in the region, estimated to be equivalent to 2.6%, 1.5% and 1.4% of GDP, respectively. This is not surprising, given that, generally, aid is higher in low-income countries than in middle-income countries.

By 2043, the Financial Flows scenario projects that aid in the region will decline to 0.99% of GDP, almost equal to the Current Path forecast of 0.98%. In the Financial Flows scenario, Liberia will receive the most aid as a percentage of GDP (18.3%), followed by Sierra Leone (14.0%) and The Gambia (8.2%). Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria will have the lowest aid inflows as a percentage of GDP (1.1%, 0.4% and 0.04%, respectively). Compared with the Current Path, countries that will benefit most from the Financial Flows scenario in terms of aid are Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, while Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria will benefit the least.

Whereas foreign aid is destined mostly for low-income countries, FDI is usually channelled into middle-income countries. Therefore, typically, middle-income countries receive higher FDI inflows than low-income countries. In 2019, total FDI flows to the ECOWAS region were equivalent to 2.5% of GDP. It was below the average of 2.8% of GDP for Africa and lowest among the RECs. Nigeria and Ghana were listed among the top ten recipients of FDIs in Africa by the World Bank.[2MT Larnyoh, Here are the top 10 African countries with highest FDI, Business Insider Africa, 4 June 2021, https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/here-are-the-top-10-african-countries-with-highest-fdi/7264vlz.] Countries whose FDI inflows constituted a larger proportion of their GDP in the region were Liberia, Cape Verde and Sierra Leone, at 13.9%, 8.5% and 8.0%, respectively. Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Benin, has the least FDI inflow as a percentage of GDP, estimated at 2.0%, 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively.

In the Financial Flows scenario, FDI inflows are projected to rise to 3.8% of GDP, above the Current Path forecast of 3.5% and Africa’s average of 3.75%. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Niger are expected to experience the highest percentage of FDI inflows in this scenario, while Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin will have the lowest in the region. The greatest improvement relative to the Current Path forecast will be seen in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde, whereas the least improvement will be seen in Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso.

As a whole, the ECOWAS region is a net recipient of remittances. Remittances averaged US$26.6 billion in 2019, equivalent to about 3.3% of GDP. This was above the average for Africa (1.7%) and the highest among all the RECs. Cape Verde, The Gambia and Liberia received the highest inflows of remittances as a percentage of GDP, estimated at 7.8%, 7.2% and 5.9% of GDP, respectively. In contrast, Niger and Côte d’Ivoire are net suppliers of remittances, equivalent to 0.42% and 1.2% of GDP, respectively. As the largest economy in francophone West Africa, Côte d’Ivoire attracts migrants from neighbouring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Guinea, which explains its being a net supplier of remittances.

In the Financial Flows scenario, the total value of remittances is expected to grow to US$103.3 billion by 2043, constituting 3.5% of GDP and above the average of 1.5% for Africa. This will be higher than the Current Path projections of US$90.9 billion (3.2% of GDP), meaning the Financial Flows scenario could increase average remittances in the region by an additional US$12.4 billion. Based on the Financial Flows scenario, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Niger will have negative remittances as a percentage of GDP. All the other countries will have positive remittances as a percentage of GDP, ranging from 7.7% in The Gambia to 0.15% in Guinea.

In the Financial Flows scenario, the average GDP per capita for ECOWAS is estimated to increase to US$7 007 by 2043. This represents a gain of US$165 compared with the Current Path forecast in the same year. However, the average GDP per capita will be lower than the expected average for Africa (US$7 157). The impact of the Financial Flows scenario on GDP per capita relative to the Current Path ranges from US$233 in Liberia to US$44 in Burkina Faso.

Trade openness will reduce poverty in the long term, although it will initially increase owing to the redistributive effects of trade. Most African countries export primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing products, and therefore a free-trade agreement that reduces tariffs and non-tariff barriers across Africa will increase competition among countries in primary commodities and low-tech manufacturing exports. Countries with inefficient, high-cost manufacturing sectors might be displaced as the AfCFTA is implemented, thereby pushing up poverty rates. In the long term, as the economy adjusts and comparatively advantaged (lower relative cost) goods and services start being produced and exported, poverty rates will decline.

In the Financial Flow scenario, 167.9 million people are forecast to be living in poverty in the ECOWAS region by 2043. This is equivalent to 23.2% of the population, and 2.3 percentage points above the average for Africa. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Financial Flow scenario could lead to 8.5 million fewer people living in poverty by 2043, which translates to a decline of 1.2 percentage points. The largest decline in poverty rates relative to the Current Path forecast occurs in Liberia (6.8 percentage points), followed by Sierra Leone (3.5 percentage points). Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde will experience the smallest reduction in poverty rate, with expected declines of, respectively, 0.5, 0.4 and 0.06 percentage points relative to the Current Path forecast.

Infrastructure scenario

Infrastructure scenario

The Infrastructure scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious increase in infrastructure spending across Africa, focusing on basic infrastructure (roads, water, sanitation, electricity access and ICT) in low-income countries and increasing emphasis on advanced infrastructure (such as ports, airports, railway and electricity generation) in higher-income countries.

Note that health and sanitation infrastructure is included as part of the Health/WaSH scenario and that ICT infrastructure and more rapid uptake of renewables are part of the Leapfrogging scenario. The interventions there push directly on outcomes, whereas those modelled in this scenario increase infrastructure spending, indirectly boosting other forms of infrastructure, including that supporting health, sanitation and ICT. 

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

In 2019, 196 million people had access to electricity in the ECOWAS region. This represents 50.3% of the ECOWAS population, below the average of 53.2% for Africa. ECOWAS had the fourth highest electricity access rate among the RECs in 2019, after the AMU (97.3%), CEN-SAD (61.1%) and COMESA (50.9%). In terms of location disparity, 74.8% of urban residents had access to electricity compared with only 29.6% of rural dwellers. By 2019, countries with high electricity access rates in the region were Cape Verde (87.9%), Ghana (80.1%) and Senegal (66.9%). At the bottom were Sierra Leone, Liberia and Niger (22.5%, 20.9% and 19.3%, respectively).

By 2043, the Infrastructure scenario will increase access to electricity to 558.8 million people, representing 77.2% of the population. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Infrastructure scenario could give 34.5 million more people access to electricity, equivalent to 4.8% of the population. In the Infrastructure scenario, 89% of urban residents are expected to have access to electricity by 2043, compared with 63.3% of rural residents. The Infrastructure scenario could consequently reduce the inequality in electricity access by 4.3 percentage points.

In the Infrastructure scenario, electricity access could be as high as 97.4% in Cape Verde by 2043, followed by 91.4% in both Senegal and Ghana. Countries with the lowest access in the Infrastructure scenario are Liberia (63.6%), Sierra Leone (63.2%) and Niger (44.3%).

Indicator 9.1.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals refers to the proportion of the rural population who live within 2 km of an all-season road and is captured in the Rural Access Index.

Road infrastructure is a necessary component for achieving sustainable development. Improved road networks not only facilitate the movement of people, goods and services but also ensure the linkage and integration of the rural economy with the urban economy. Particularly within the ECOWAS region, where a significant proportion of the rural population is in the agriculture sector, it gives farmers access to the larger markets in the cities that supply the urban centres with food and other agricultural products. In 2019, the proportion of the rural population that lived within 2 km of all-weather roads in the ECOWAS region was estimated at 48.9%, below the average for Africa (53%). Among the RECs in Africa, it was higher only than for the EAC (47.7%) and ECCAS (35.8%). The proportion differed among member countries, ranging from 74.5% in Cape Verde and 70.3% in Ghana to 27.2% in Guinea and 17.5% in Mali.

In the Current Path forecast, access to all-weather roads in rural areas in ECOWAS will increase to 55.3% by 2043. In the Infrastructure scenario, the improvement is faster, such that by 2043, 56.7% of people in rural areas will have access to an all-weather road. However, this will still be below the average of 59.1% for Africa.

In the Infrastructure scenario, 85.9% of the rural population in Cape Verde will reside within 2 km of an all-weather road. This is followed by Sierra Leone and Ghana, with rates of 76.2% and 73.8%, respectively. Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali will have the lowest access rates (43.9%, 39.1% and 32.9%, respectively).

In the Infrastructure scenario, the average GDP per capita for the ECOWAS region is projected to increase from US$4 373 in 2019 to US$6 987 in 2043. This will be US$145 higher than the Current Path forecast for the region, but below the average of US$7 157 for Africa. Member countries with the greatest improvement in GDP per capita are Côte d’Ivoire (US$414), Cape Verde (US$388) and Guinea (US$335), while those where GDP per capita will increase least are Liberia (US$94), Sierra Leone (US$92) and Ghana (US$76).

The Current Path forecast is that 176.4 million people, constituting 24.4% of the region’s population, will be living in extreme poverty by 2043. In the Infrastructure scenario, extreme poverty will decline faster, such that by 2043, 169.7 million people (23.5% of the population) are projected to live in poverty. This means that the Infrastructure scenario will lead to 6.7 million fewer people living in poverty. The most significant reduction in the extreme poverty occurs in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Côte d’Ivoire, where the poverty rate declines by 3.3, 2.2 and 2.1 percentage points, respectively. Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde will likely experience the lowest reduction in poverty rate, with declines of 0.14, 0.12 and 0.1 percentage points, respectively.

Governance scenario

Governance scenario

The Governance scenario represents a reasonable but ambitious improvement in accountability and reduces corruption, and hence improves the quality of service delivery by government.

The intervention is explained here in the thematic part of the website.

As defined by the World Bank, government effectiveness ‘captures perceptions of the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and the credibility of the government’s commitment to such policies’.

Chart 51 presents the impact of the interventions in the Governance scenario on government effectiveness.

In 2019, ECOWAS’s governance effectiveness score was 1.74, in line with the average for Africa in the same year. Among the RECs, it was higher than the averages for EAC, CEN-SAD and IGAD. Countries that performed well on the governance effectiveness index in the region are Cape Verde (2.72), Ghana (2.33) and Senegal (2.13). Togo, Sierra Leone and Liberia performed poorly, with scores of 1.38, 1.30 and 1.10, respectively.

In the Governance scenario, government effectiveness for the region is projected to rise to 2.32 by 2043, representing an increase of 33.3%. This will be higher than the region’s Current Path forecast of 2.23 and the average of 2.22 for Africa in the same period. In the Governance scenario, Cape Verde, Senegal and Ghana will continue to lead in governance effectiveness, improving their scores to 3.01, 2.68 and 2.67, respectively. Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Liberia will be at the bottom, with projected scores of 1.87, 1.81 and 1.79, respectively. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the greatest improvement in governance effectiveness in the Governance scenario will occur in Togo, The Gambia and Côte d'Ivoire. Sierra Leone, Ghana and Cape Verde will see the least improvement.

The Governance scenario will lead to a greater increase in GDP per capita than in the Current Path, such that by 2043, the average GDP per capita in the ECOWAS region will rise by US$185. Countries that gain the most are Nigeria, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire, with estimated gains of US$224, US$207 and US$186, respectively. In contrast, Niger (US$76), Sierra Leone (US$60) and Liberia (US$54) will experience the least improvement relative to the Current Path forecast.

The proportion of people living in extreme poverty (measured at US$1.90) in the ECOWAS region is projected to decline from 38.5% in 2019 to 23.4% (169.3 million people) in 2043. This is higher than the average of 20.9% for Africa. Compared with the Current Path forecast, the Governance scenario could lift an addition 7.1 million people in the region out of extreme poverty by 2043. The sharpest reductions in poverty rate are seen in Mali, Sierra Leone and Guinea, declining by 2.3, 1.7 and 1.6 percentage points, respectively. Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde will likely see the smallest reductions, at 0.36, 0.21 and 0.03 percentage points, respectively.

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

Impact of scenarios on carbon emissions

This section presents projections for carbon emissions in the Current Path for the ECOWAS region and the 11 scenarios. Note that IFs uses carbon equivalents rather than CO2 equivalents. 

ECOWAS is estimated to have emitted a total of 62 million tons of carbon in 2019, with Nigeria alone accounting for 63.5% of these emissions. The Current Path forecast will increase carbon emissions in the region to 280 million tons by 2043. Carbon emissions are projected to increase in all scenarios. The Free Trade scenario is the most carbon intensive, with emissions projected to reach about 308 million tons by 2043. This is followed by the Manufacturing/Transfers and Agriculture scenarios, with estimated carbon emissions of 298 and 296 million tons, respectively. The Demographic and Health/WaSH scenarios will be the least carbon intensive.

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

Combined Agenda 2063 scenario

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The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario consists of the combination of all 11 sectoral scenarios presented above, namely the Stability, Demographic, Health/WaSH, Agriculture, Education, Manufacturing/Transfers, Leapfrogging, Free Trade, Financial Flows, Infrastructure and Governance scenarios. The cumulative impact of better education, health, infrastructure, etc. means that countries get an additional benefit in the integrated IFs forecasting platform, which we refer to as the synergistic effect. Chart 55 presents the contribution of each of these 12 components to GDP per capita in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario as a stacked area graph.

The most significant improvement compared with the Current Path forecast comes from the Free Trade scenario, with gains of US$794. It is followed by the Manufacturing/Transfers scenario (US$533) and the Leapfrogging scenario (US$481). This means that governments in ECOWAS must take advantage of the full implementation of the AfCFTA to produce commodities according to their comparative advantage and also trade among themselves to increase their GDP per capita. They must also improve ICT infrastructure, which is key for industrialisation to increase their GDP per capita. The interventions with the least impact on GDP per capita are the Health/WaSH, Infrastructure and Financial Flows scenarios.

The impact of scenarios on GDP varies among countries. Whereas Free Trade will have the most impact in Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Cape Verde, Agriculture will have the most effect in Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Niger and Liberia.

Whereas Chart 55 presents a stacked area graph of the contribution of each scenario to GDP per capita as well as the additional benefit or synergistic effect, Chart 56 presents only the GDP per capita in the Current Path forecast and the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario.

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario leads to a greater impact on GDP per capita than the Current Path forecast. By 2043, it is estimated that the Combined Agenda 2063 will increase GDP per capita to US$11 521. This represents an increase of 68.4% compared with the Current Path. The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario could therefore improve GDP per capita by US$4 679. The estimated average GDP per capita for ECOWAS in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will also be higher than the average of US$7 157 for Africa in the same year.

The dramatic impact of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on GDP per capita shows that a policy push across all the development sectors is necessary to achieve sustained growth and development in the region. Countries that will witness the greatest improvement given the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario are Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde, with gains expected to reach US$6 102, US$4 930 and US$4 824, respectively. GDP per capita will likely increase least in Sierra Leone (US$1 840), Liberia (US$1 792) and Niger (US$1 626) in the Combined Agenda scenario

The Combined Agenda 2063 scenario will lead to a reduction in both the number and proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2043. The number of poor people living on less than US$1.90 per day is projected to decline from 150.2 million in 2019 to 55 million in 2043. This corresponds to a reduction from 38.5% of the population to 8.0%.

Compared with the Current Path forecast, 121.4 million fewer people will live in extreme poverty in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, constituting a decline in poverty rate of 16.4 percentage points. The considerable reduction in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario shows that a concerted policy push across all the development sectors could significantly reduce poverty in ECOWAS.

The largest reduction in poverty rate will be seen in Sierra Leone (31.8 percentage points), followed by Guinea-Bissau and Liberia (28.6 and 27 percentage points, respectively). In contrast, the poverty rate will decline only by 6.4, 1.9 and 0.76 percentage points, respectively, in Ghana, The Gambia and Cape Verde in the Combined Agenda 2064 scenario. It means that in the long term, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Liberia stand to benefit the most if the various policy interventions underpinning the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario are implemented.

See Chart 8 to view the Current Path forecast of the sectoral composition of the economy.

In 2019, the service sector accounted for 52.2% of GDP in the ECOWAS region, followed by the agriculture sector (22.6%) and Manufacturing (12.2%). Energy, ICT and materials accounted for 6.5%, 5.1% and 1.4%, respectively. In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the service sector’s contribution to GDP is expected to be US$1.8 trillion larger than in the Current Path forecast for 2043, equivalent to 63.2 % of GDP. Manufacturing will overtake agriculture as the second largest contributor, adding US$450.4 billion (19.2%) to the economy. ICT will contribute an additional US$210 billion, accounting for 7.0%. The contributions of agriculture, materials and energy will account for 6.3%, 2.4% and 2.0% of the ECOWAS economy, respectively. As a percentage of GDP, the service sector’s contribution to GDP in the Combined Agenda 2063 is projected to be 3.9 percentage points larger than in the Current Path forecast for 2043. The contribution of manufacturing to GDP will be one percentage point above the Current Path forecast. Agriculture, materials, ICT and energy will all see contributions below that projected in the Current Path forecast for 2043.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the service sector in Cape Verde will contribute 75.4% to GDP, the largest contribution in the region, and at 32.7% Mali’s manufacturing sector will be the largest in the region. Guinea-Bissau will have the highest contribution from agriculture (13.8%) and ICT (9%).

The GDP of ECOWAS is projected to increase from US$816.4 billion in 2019 to US$5.4 trillion by 2043 in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario. This represents an increase of 567%. The size of the ECOWAS economy will be 91.3% larger in the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario than in the Current Path forecast. The high expected growth will be driven by Nigeria’s economy, which is projected to account for 69.3% of total GDP in the region by 2043. The countries that will benefit the most from the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario are Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, with GDP gains of US$1.7 trillion, US$150 billion and US$109 billion, respectively. Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia and Cape Verde will see the smallest relative changes in GDP as a result of the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, with gains of US$8.3 billion, US$7.7 billion and US$3.2 billion, respectively.

In the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario, the ECOWAS region is projected to emit 404 million tons of carbon by 2043, compared with 62 million tons in 2019. This represents an increase of 551% over the forecast period. If the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario were to materialise, it would stimulate high economic growth and reduce extreme poverty in ECOWAS, but the cost in terms of environmental degradation is relatively high. Governments in the ECOWAS region should adopt mitigating strategies, such as using renewable energy, to reduce carbon emissions. Nigeria alone will be responsible for about two-thirds of carbon emissions in the region.

Endnotes

  1. US Geological Survey, West Africa: Land use and land cover dynamics. Population, https://eros.usgs.gov/westafrica/population.

  2. MT Larnyoh, Here are the top 10 African countries with highest FDI, Business Insider Africa, 4 June 2021, https://africa.businessinsider.com/local/markets/here-are-the-top-10-african-countries-with-highest-fdi/7264vlz.

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Cite this research

Enoch Randy Aikins (2022) West Africa/ECOWAS. Published online at futures.issafrica.org. Retrieved from https://futures.issafrica.org/geographic/regions/west-africa-ecowas/ [Online Resource] Updated 14 September 2022.