By Abdul Rahman Bangura-
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone– Regardless, West Africa yet encounters crucial challenges, with immediate population growth, high levels of poverty and hunger, and armed conflict. The entirety of these aspects renders it extremely hard to undertake the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related objectives of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
In addendum to this, the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and, most previously, the Ukrainian crisis. The Covid-19 pandemic induced a major economic awe in the region. According to the ECA, West Africa’s real GDP has fallen to 0.7% in 2020 from 3.7% in
2019. And while there is a favorable outlook for growth in West Africa, with respective levels of 2.8% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022, according to the African Development Bank, a resilient and more sustainable economic recovery is proving imperative for the subregion.
In this, a probable impetus for future growth for sustainable diversification through industrialization by curbing value chain development in West Africa, and for the Mainland, is the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). With 12 of the 15 ECOWAS states having approved the treaty to date, and 11 having developed national AfCFTA strategies, West Africa is on the right track for the implementation of this instrument for regional and African integration and sustainable development.
Certainly, West Africa is ascertaining resilience and is striving to influence the potential chances given by the AfCFTA to renovate better and achieve in the post-COVID-19 economic speed recovery and face the consequences of the crisis in Ukraine, through the significant role tinkered by Sstates, the private sector, young people, and women.
To take advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA and boost local production, the ECA’s Sub-Regional Office for West Africa has taken initiatives in favor of “Made in West Africa”, resulting in commitments with ECOWAS member states, Regional Economic
Commissions, Inter-Governmental Organizations, and the private sector.
In September of 2021, the ECA’s Sub-Regional Office for Africa committed with over 350 young people and women at a Forum held in Lagos, Nigeria, which oversaw the blastoff of the West Africa Business Linkages Platform (WABLP). It is a cloud portal that enables automatic business linkages, resource sharing, marketing referrals, and resource carpooling, under one roof. WABLP is a cloud platform, available to all members across the region, through shared infrastructure and relational databases. to ensure multilingual data sharing.
It intends for to organize a business linkages Programme which promotes the innovation of new linkages, deepens, and expands existing programs between foreign companies’ affiliates and small- and medium-sized enterprises in from across and beyond West Africa, thus making them effective the more and sustainable.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent