Impact Analysis of the ECOWAS Community Development Programme
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has made significant progress in various areas of regional integration, especially peace and security, and free movement of goods, capital, services and people. The bloc has also made significant progress in the harmonization of macroeconomic policies, adoption and implementation of a common agricultural policy, and formulation of a common regional framework for the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union. However, despite these results, the ECOWAS still faces a high level of poverty and persistence of obstacles to achieving its main objective of a fully integrated economic community.
Issues and challenges of development and integration of West Africa have revealed, among other things, low coherence among regional initiatives. Various initiatives are been undertaken by the ECOWAS Commission to improve synergy between development actions in the ECOWAS region. Among these actions is the Community Development Programme (CDP) initiated in 2009 to facilitate development of a coherent medium and long-term development agenda for the region. Millennium Institute, in partnership with the ECOWAS Commission, implemented a program to strengthen the CDP’s capacity to use integrated policy simulation tools to examine the socioeconomic and environmental dynamics of the region, and based on assessment of their impact, identify synergetic project and program investments that will foster achievement of the objectives of ECOWAS Vision 2020.
Key Policy Insights and Recommendations
Effective implementation of planned investments would produce tangible results of structural transformation of the region by 2020. Planned investments in productive sectors and economic infrastructures between 2014 and 2018 produces GDP growth rate of over 7.5% during 2015-2025, a favorable situation that exceeds the targeted GDP growth rate of 7% required to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty. However, for this optimistic projection to be realized, the ECOWAS would need to adopt an efficient resource mobilization strategy to close the funding gap representing over 75% of investments required for the implementation of the identified 242 priority projects.
The positive impact derived from the implementation of development projects in agriculture, industry and infrastructure would be amplified if Member States take advantage of their diversity and the large market they form through a viable economic and monetary union.
The regional human development index is expected to improve significantly as a result of higher levels of life expectancy at birth and higher education attainment in the region. Although, a high level of fossil fuel emissions is expected over time due to energy and transport infrastructures production, the CO2 emission intensity, would experience a downward trend because of high rate of economic activities projected over the period 2014-2035.