The growth rate within the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), amounted to 5.7% in 2022, down 0.4% compared to 2021, announced Monday the leaders of this organization meeting in Abidjan.
The eight member countries of UEMOA (Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) have not been spared by "the deep crises that affect the whole world", in particular "the consequences of the war in Ukraine", at the same time as "our economies were recovering from the shock" of the crisis related to Covid, said Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara.
In addition to the growth rate, which has slowed from 6.1% in 2021 to 5.7% in 2022, inflation within the union has risen from 3.6% to 7.5% in 2022, Mr Ouattara said, adding that its member countries had nevertheless shown "resilience".
Noting that the security situation was "worrying" because of "the increasing number of terrorist attacks" in several UEMOA countries, in particular Burkina Faso and Mali, he pointed out that some of the expenditure that should have been allocated "to education and health" had been allocated "to defence and security".
The Abidjan summit was held the day after the Abuja summit of the fifteen member countries of ECOWAS, to which the UEMOA belong, which decided to create a regional force to intervene not only against jihadism but also in the event of a coup d'état, as the region has experienced several over the past two years.
Several West African countries are suffering from the spread of jihadism from northern Mali to central Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, and southwards to the Gulf of Guinea.
The national armies are largely powerless and cooperate with external actors, the UN, France and Russia.
Insecurity is a major factor in the military coups that have shaken the region since 2020 in Mali, Burkina Faso and, for other reasons, Guinea.
"ECOWAS leaders have decided to recalibrate our security architecture," Omar Touray, chairman of the ECOWAS commission, said in Abuja. They are "determined to establish a regional force that will intervene when needed, whether it is for security, terrorism or restoring constitutional order in member states," he said.