Nigeria’s GDP drop responsible for decline in region’s economic activity, says ECOWAS
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), yesterday revealed that significant decline in the economic activity of the West African region is primarily due to the sharp drop in the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.
While the projected ECOWAS growth rate in 2017 is 2.2 per cent, Nigeria’s expected growth rate of 0.8 per cent in 2017 and 1.9 per cent in 2018 is a positive development due to efforts of the Federal Government, according to the April 2017 projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, who gave a report, yesterday at the First Ordinary Session of the Fourth Legislature of the ECOWAS Parliament, further said that a comparative analysis of major African regions revealed that West Africa was the worst hit by the general economic downturn in Africa in 2016.
However, ECOWAS’ real GDP rate stood at 0.2 per cent in 2016 compared to a 3.3 per cent increase in 2015 and 6.1 per cent in 2014. Global economic growth in 2016 declined slightly compared to 2015 at 3.1per cent and 3.2 per cent respectively.
De Souza said while the stagnation of the ECOWAS economy in 2016 was due to poor performance of Nigeria’s economy, Côte d’ Ivoire had the highest growth rate of 9.3 per cent in 2016 as against 9.2 per cent in 2015.
While the community continues to face security challenges with terrorist attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso by jihadist groups, in Niger and Nigeria, attacks by the Boko Haram sect has continued to claim lives of several elements of defense and security forces as well as civilians.
Speaker of the Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo commended Nigeria and President Muhammadu Buhari for securing the release and safe return of the 82 Chibok school girls, abducted three years ago by Boko Haram.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, challenged the parliament to prove itself as an effective instrument for fostering closer ECOWAS integration and development.
He also called for the use of law as a veritable tool for developmental co-operation amongst Member States, whilst acknowledging that the institutional role of the ECOWAS Parliament needs to be strengthened the more, in order to enable it play the pivotal role in the developmental aspirations of the region.