2013-01-01 00:15:55 - Francophone West Africa Business Forecast Report Q4 2012 - a new country guide report on companiesandmarkets.com
For Francophone West Africa BMI sees the decision of Cameroon´s President, Paul Biya, to increase fuel subsidies as a worrying sign of populist policymaking. Higher subsidies will divert government revenue away from needed infrastructure, and will have a minimal impact on the poor. CÃ´te d´Ivoire´s economic recovery is continuing rapidly, but we believe that growth will fall below the government´s optimistic forecasts.
We predict 8.0% economic growth in 2012, but expect growth to slow in the following years. In Equatorial Guinea, however, we predict slow growth and eventual economic stagnation if the government is unable to broaden the economic base beyond oil exports. The country´s oil fields are maturing, and production will soon begin to decline. BMI does not believe that
the countries sharing the Central African Franc (XAF) will succeed in their attempts to build a more integrated union. Trade between the six countries remains limited, and we expect that they will remain dependent on oil exports for the foreseeable future.
Mali´s institutional crisis looks set to continue, despite the return of the country´s president after receiving medical attention in France. BMI remains sceptical that a foreign intervention will attempt to reunite the country, but sees the possibility of a stabilisation force being sent to reinforce government control over the south.
In Togo, BMI does not believe that the replacement of the country´s prime minister will end the growing protest movement. Popular dissatisfaction with the government is high, and protests are likely to continue in the run-up to legislative elections. Regionally, we believe that inflation will remain high on the back of elevated food prices caused by the food crisis in the Sahel. BMI predicts that food prices will moderate in the autumn, allowing inflation to trend down in the fourth quarter.
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