As for the entire Africa, West Africa is not exempt of the plague of poverty in all its forms. According to statistics, the average per capita income is between $US305 and 340. Extreme poverty affects 40 to 45 per cent of the population of West Africa, with fairly significant variations depending on the country.
Considering the absolute number of poor people, in Africa between 1990 and 2008, in terms of annual average, poverty rates fell by only 0.5 per cent in comparison to 2.3 per cent in East Asia and the Pacific, and about 1 per cent in South Asia. There is still a great disparity between urban poverty and rural poverty. Indeed, rural areas are more affected than urban areas with 70 per cent of the poor living in extreme conditions of poverty.
To deal with those challenges, the West African states have, in recent years, deliberately promoted national and regional policies that strive to reduce poverty with a view to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), of which poverty reduction constitutes the first objective. A Regional Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (RPRSP) has been produced to coordinate and improve the effectiveness of the various actions being implemented to reduce poverty.
It is from this perspective that, since the emergence of the concept of “green economy”, many States are endeavoured towards fighting poverty and achieving the MDGs through the promotion of the green economy. This is attested by the numerous declarations and resolutions ratified by African leaders to whom the identified green economy appears as a vehicle for growth. Amongst those relevant we have the third African Ministerial Conference on Financing for Development (May 2009), the Thirteenth Session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (June 2010), the first Pan-African Conference on Biodiversity (September 2010), the Seventh African Development Forum (October 2010) and, more recently, the Eighteenth Ordinary Session of the Executive Council of the African Union (January 2011).