Map WestAfrica


BENIN | The biggest of West Africa’s small ports

The Port of Cotonou accounts for 90% of foreign trade.

Progress has been made in the operation of the Port of Cotonou, although there is still investment required for its infrastructure upgrades. Port management, which has just been outsourced to Port of Antwerp International, is being constantly improved to ensure greater efficiency and security.


BENIN | Foreign trade: recovery in sight

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Benin’s foreign trade is set to be boosted by the record cotton harvests achieved since 2016 along with Nigeria’s return to growth. The country’s economy has gone through a tough two years due to poor harvests and its giant neighbour’s embattled economic performance.


BENIN | Growth: positive indicators

Cotton production for the 2016-2017 crop year was estimated at 450,000 tons
Record cotton harvests, economic recovery in Nigeria, a healthy building and public works sector… There are an increasing number of positive signs that indicate that Benin’s economy began picking up again in 2017. This economic dynamic is being driven by “Revealing Benin” (Benin Révélé), the ambitious Government Action Programme (GAP) financed by the IMF


Nigeria's paddies of promise


New financing mechanisms are helping to increase rice production in Nigeria. The country has a long way to go, however, before it has the milling capacity and irrigation systems needed to become self-sufficient, and can begin seeking export markets.


Togo Country Profile 2015: Five more for Faure

altPresident Faure Gnassingbé is slated to win the March 2015 presidential elections, giving him a third term in office.


Sierra Leone Country Profile 2015: The battle for survival

altThe nationwide spread of Ebola wrecked Sierra Leone's high hopes of ushering in a period of economic transformation.


Senegal Country Profile 2015: Sall's plan is emerging

altLike President Barack Obama, Senegal's Macky Sall swept into office on the promise that he would deliver change.


Nigeria Country Profile 2015: Harnessing optimism against despair

altNotwithstanding the country's extraordinary challenges, a general wave of optimism seems to hold sway among
Nigerians at home and abroad.


Niger Country Profile 2015: Living in a rough neighbourhood

altWith Nigeria's Islamist Boko Haram rebels operating in north-eastern Nigeria and continued instability in Mali and the wider Sahel, security is the most serious threat for the government in 2015.


Mali Country Profile 2015: No peace, no reconciliation

altThe optimism around President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta's (IBK) arrival in power in September 2013 has largely faded as the government has failed to deal with the Tuareg and Islamist forces in northern Mali.


Liberia Country Profile 2015: Virus devastates the economy

altThe government's ability to tackle Ebola will shape 2015 in Liberia.


Guinea-Bissau Country Profile 2015: Change for the better at last?

altFormer finance minister José Mário Vaz won a convincing victory in the second round of the presidential polls in May 2014 and now has a serious and long list of priority areas to address.


Guinea Country Profile 2015: Ebola casts a long shadow

altThe 2014 Ebola epidemic started in Guinea and is the single most important factor in the country's political and economic future.


Gambia Country Profile 2015: A game of cat and mouse

altAfter pulling out of the Commonwealth in 2013 to dodge criticism of his government's appalling human rights record, President Yahya Jammeh is now playing a similar cat-and-mouse game with the UN.


Ghana Country Profile 2015: Setbacks on the road to prosperity

altGhana will have an uphill struggle in 2015 as the government tries to stabilise the economy after the rough and tumble of a bad year.


Cote D'Ivoire Country Profile 2015: Polls test the post-conflict peace

altLess than a year before next presidential election – the first one since the 2010 turmoil – Côte d'Ivoire presents a contrasting picture: while the economy is booming, particularly thanks to public investment in infrastructure projects, reconciliation is more rhetoric than reality.


Cabo Verde Country Profile 2015: Election debate heats up

altCabo Verde's political parties are preparing for national elections in 2016.


Burkina Faso Country Profile 2015: Beyond Blaise

altBurkina Faso will be preparing elections in 2015 in order to end the transitional period after the late October 2014 downfall of President Blaise Compaoré, who faced a popular uprising after attempting to change the constitution to remove the term limits that would force him to step down.


Benin Country Profile 2015: Bashing Boni Yayi

altPresident Thomas Boni Yayi is entering the terminal stages of his second term in office, facing widespread strikes, endemic corruption and trouble organising elections.


Country Profile 2014: TOGO

Protests and calls for reform

Despite the street protests and demands from civil society that took place in 2013, the Togolese government managed to organise legislative elections in July 2013 and reduce tension during the last part of the year. There is no certainty that 2014 will not bring similar instability as there are many challenges that remain to be resolved on the political and social fronts ahead of presidential elections in 2015.


Country Profile 2014: SIERRA LEONE

Partisan squabbles hinder progress

The holding of another peaceful and relatively fair democratic election in late 2012 could, and should, have symbolised the success of rebuilding Sierra Leone and its emergence from post-conflict status towards development, but the reality is a rather different and sadder story of increasing political division and bitterness.



Country Profile 2014: SENEGAL

A year down and much more to do

Senegal’s new dawn in 2012, with the election of President Macky Sall, has brought with it some stability as well as some disappointments for ordinary citizens. But Sall was elected based on promises of reform and improved quality of life for the population, which is largely dependent on agriculture.



Country Profile 2014: NIGERIA

The race starts early

Hastened by the split of the ruling party in 2013, the electoral wheels will gather speed in 2014, placing strain on the oil sector and regional stability. President Goodluck Jonathan’s presumed ambition to run for office again in 2015 has polarised the political field to a degree unprecedented since the return to democracy in 1999. The political jostling will test the delicate balance that has allowed some economic reforms to gain traction. The privatisation of state power plants, a key step towards ending decades of chronic electricity shortages, has gained momentum (see box).



Country Profile 2014: NIGER

Sahel instability tops the agenda

President Mahamadou Issoufou’s attempts to build political consensus and move the country on from its history of military coups have been somewhat overshadowed by external threats. The Touareg rebellion and subsequent Islamist take over of Mali continues to cause serious problems for Niger and in May 2013 a long-feared terrorist attack took place. Twenty-one people died in dual attacks on a military barracks in Agadez and a French-owned uranium mining facility in Arlit.



Country Profile 2014: MALI

IBK faces the mountain

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s landslide victory in August 2013 has yet to make the earth move for diplomats, investors and ordinary Malians. While the holding of a peaceful election opened up aid channels, any prospect of meaningful development spending in the north will be hampered by security concerns and a lack of real effort to address the causes of separatism, smuggling and religious extremism.



Country Profile 2014: LIBERIA

Predator police, predator politicians

Having survived a generally peaceful decade since the end of its civil war, Liberia is often referred to as a post-conflict success story, but President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government continues to be criticised over corruption among public officials and the police, and over the management of its natural resource deals. The security situation is stable but public discontent, suspicion an danger towards the government is rising.


Country Profile 2014: GUINEA-BISSAU

The military’s shadow looms large


Guinea-Bissau’s political future rested on the holding of national elections on 24 November and another round of attempts to get the military to respect civilian authority. The country has been under an arms embargo and its leadership has been under sanctions and was unrecognised – except by the Economic Community of West African States – since the 12 April 2012 military coup. As The Africa Report went to press, the government postponed elections until at least March 2014 due to organisational and financial problems.



Country Profile 2014: GUINEA

Win some, lose others

The government enters 2014 on sounder footing. The delayed 28 September 2013 legislative elections ended the country’s transition from military rule, but it will not be a remedy for a country dependent on foreign aid. The government is still trying to build a state able to satisfy the basic needs of its citizens,but it will have more money to spend on infrastructure and other development projects because it reached the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Country debt-relief initiative in September 2012.


Country Profile 2014: GHANA

Democracy’s gain, economy’s downgrade


The year ahead will be the first true test of mettle for PresidentJohn Dramani Mahama, who after coming to power unexpectedly in 2012 had to face an almost immediate election, the results of which were then not fully validated foreight months. The ensuing uncertainty meant that both political governance and economic management have takena while to find some equilibrium.



Country Profile 2014: GAMBIA

Retreating into isolation

While the continuing controversies stirred by President Yahya Jammeh have given fuel to Gambian opposition parties on the ground, and have sparked more vocal outrage from the media and citizens through social media, the opposition will no doubt still struggle to agree on a unified course of action in 2014. But it can at least claim to have gained some ground and the government appears to be feeling the heat, with reports that the authorities have stepped up their tactics of arrests and exiling political dissenters.



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