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West Africa Economies to Grow 6.4% in 2012 on Ivorian Rise

Dec. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Growth in the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union is forecast at 6.4 percent next year as Ivory Coast recovers from a post-election crisis that stalled output in the goup’s biggest economy.

The projection for 2011 projection is 1.2 percent, Tiemoko Meyliet Kone, governor of the regional central bank, told reporters in Niamey, Niger’s capital, today.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, was mired in a five-month crisis that followed a disputed November 2010 presidential election.

As conflict flared, landlocked countries including Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali struggled to maintain trade at Ivory Coast’s main port of Abidjan, leading to domestic shortages and a halt in exports of their own goods.

Ivory Coast’s recovery is “faster than expected,” Kone said. The union had forecast 2011 regional growth at 1 percent, he added.

Concern about the European debt crisis and the U.S. economy add to “increased uncertainties in the economies of the WAEMU,” Kone said.

Togo, Mali, Niger, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Benin and Guinea-Bissau use the common CFA franc currency, which is pegged to the euro and has weakened 11 percent since July and traded at 503.27 per dollar by 11:09 a.m. in Abidjan.

To contact the reporter on this story: Djibril Saidou in Niamey via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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