The Western African region comprise of 16 countries and is the most populous region in the continent. Its GDP returned to a strong growth in 2021, bouncing back from the Covid-19 pandemic, and with stable outlook in 2023 above 4%. There is vast business potential in various sectors, and especially investment opportunities offered in the nations located along the coastal line “Coastal West Africa”: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo.
West Africa’s economic fundamentals and the doing business environment are rapidly improving in several countries. There is progress on reforms to improve the markets business environment, thus offering ease in doing business through conducive environments and incentives.
However, doing business in the region presents challenges. There are lingering geopolitical concerns and diverse country situations. However, the perception of risk often exceeds real risk. There are indeed opportunities for growth and success for those business leaders who are willing to learn and understand the intricacy of the region. Understanding the local context will help to better realign actual and perceived risk.
Still, growth is expected to continue as countries focus on increasing regional trade and can rely on a resourceful and young workforce. As West Africa’s potential grow, and its economy continues to expand, the opportunities for businesses to trade across the region are endless. This to be accentuated by African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) prospects with accelerated growth observed in the Coastal West Africa.
TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENT IN COASTAL WEST AFRICA ACCELERATING ECONOMIC GROWTH
Coastal West Africa host major cities, ports, agroindustries, fisheries, development of green energy, and production of the region. It hosts an abundance of natural resources, on land and at sea, which provide vital ecosystem services. These resources help drive economic growth, boost resilience in the face of climate change.
There are some key trends and developments, primarily within digital technology, transportation, healthcare, and energy that are responsible for the economic growth acceleration observed in the Coastal West African nations. These trends cut across the countries that could be relevant to companies when considering investment destinations.
Digitech: digitalisation & innovation providing solutions to daily challenges
Technology ecosystems across Africa have experienced formidable growth over the past few years, mainly boosted by a torrent of venture funds, development finance, corporate involvement, as well as ever-growing, innovative communities. The mobile cellular coverage continues to grow in the whole continent with mobile cellular subscription surpassing the 100 per 100 inhabitants in several countries. Over 77 per cent of people in Africa are now within reach of a 3G signal, and almost one third have internet access.
Transportation: urban transport as vector for growth
Coastal Western Africa remains one of the most rapidly urbanizing regions in the world. In Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Ghana combined, the urban population is expected to double over the next 20 years and represent about 20 per cent of Africa’s urban population in 2040. With this expansion, comes several structural challenges linked public service particularly in urban transportation. Countries have set bold targets to upgrade their transport infrastructure including roads, logistic systems, airports, and ports.
Healthcare: supporting healthcare needs in a post-covid context
In the face of the pertaining challenges, countries are doubling their efforts to upgrade healthcare infrastructure and improve access to healthcare services. Coastal Western Africa is still challenged with communicable and non-communicable diseases which still constrain the growth.
Energy: improving electricity access through cleaner energy solutions
Africa is in an energy transition and needs to maintain a balanced energy mix to manage short-term energy security and build long-term trajectories that reconcile achieving low greenhouse gas emissions with meeting key objectives for the wellbeing of the populations. Electricity consumption is expected to continue to grow significantly, especially with increased urbanization and expansion of the population in the region. As the energy needs in the region continue to grow and energy insecurity remains, markets will need to develop long-term strategies to exploit their enormous renewable energy resources that are consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
OUR REPORT & SUPPORT
The full report Coastal Western Africa: Turning Challenges to Opportunities provides insights on conducting business in fast-growing countries and key sectorial opportunities with market deep dives and examples. The report is supported by the Embassy of Sweden covering Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and Benin.
Contact us today for a copy of the full report and to discuss business opportunities with us. Business Sweden’s continent-wide presence in Africa, built on a foundation of understanding local business, trade, political and social practices, will support a smooth market entry. We are happy to discuss how we can support you in growing your business.
For more information on Business Sweden West Africa, click here.