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Addressing structural inequalities and vulnerabilities in West Africa

14 February, 2023
Addressing structural inequalities and vulnerabilities in West Africa

Niamey, Niger, February 14, 2023 - The Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (SRO/WA-UNECA), organized a High-Level Dialogue last Thursday as a prelude to the 55th Session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

The meeting was held against the backdrop of a significant reduction in poverty in West Africa since 2010, with 36.0% of ECOWAS citizens living below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day in 2019, compared to 49.0% in 2010.

Under the theme "Inequalities and Vulnerabilities in West Africa in a Context of Multiple Crises. Policy Responses for an Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery", the objective of the Dialogue was to discuss structural inequalities and vulnerabilities in West Africa that have been exacerbated by multiple crises (Covid 19 pandemic, climate change and war in Ukraine) and to identify appropriate policies to address them.

According to the Director of the SRO-WA/ECA, Ngone Diop, "West Africa is experiencing multiple social crises that create or accentuate social inequalities among the population. This high-level dialogue will enable to make recommendations to be forwarded to African Ministers at the 55th session of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development to be held from 15 to 21 March 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This sub-regional dialogue, which brought together some one hundred senior government officials, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams, representatives of the private sector, civil society, academia, and members of the West African Economic Journalists Network, enabled participants to make recommendations for addressing inequalities, vulnerabilities and the poverty trap in West Africa.

They made the following recommendations among others:

  • Effective planning of socio-economic policies that are inclusive, resilient and poor

  • Address the peace-security and development nexus by tackling the root causes of conflict including development deficit

  • Economic diversification in support of structural transformation of the economy through the creation of value chains to harness the region’s important resources endowment; raise domestic revenues

  • Harness demographic dividend by investing in the youth and women’s education and skills, health and decent jobs

  • Expand social protection and security to tackle inequality, vulnerability and poverty;

  • Create conducive environment for the private sector including SMEs, to play an effective role in economic diversification using the AfCFTA as an anchor

  • Need for massive investment on Agricultural development to modernize farming and enhance use of fertilizers to improve productivity in order to reduce vulnerability with the ultimate goal of reducing poverty

  • Enhance collaboration between researchers, practitioners, and policy makers with the view to ensure that policies are designed based on customized models and the needs of the African population.

  • Empower women, girls and youth by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle poverty..


For further  information, please contact :   Tahirou Gouro, Communication Officer, ECA- SRO/WA Email :,