The World Bank is making a strong case for Ghana and other members of ECOWAS to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.
According to the bank, the region’s manufacturing exports could see a major boost if the agreement is signed. The call stands contrary to submissions made by civil society groups that the agreement could crash the manufacturing sectors of member states.
Speaking at a press briefing of the Bank’s biannual African Pulse report on Monday, Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa Region, Francisco Ferreira said the manufacturing sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product was declining and the agreement could potentially support the sector.
“I do think the EPA could help improve the manufacturing exports in the region. When we talk about the manufacturing decline in GDP, it is a share. Manufacturing has continued to grow but it is growing more slowly than other sectors. Particularly it is growing more slowly than other sectors and natural sources” he said.
The agreement if signed will warrant that within two decades, about 80% of that country’s market should open to European goods and services tariff-free.
The World Bank in its latest Africa Pulse report is projecting economic growth rate for sub-Saharan Africa at 5.2 percent for this year. This is an increase from last year’s growth rate of 4.7 percent.
The strong projection is underpinned by rising investment in natural resources and infrastructure.
Inflation in the region last year declined significantly to 6.3percent from 10.7 percent recorded in 2012. Special mention was made of Ghana as having recorded a high inflation rate because of the declining cedi.
Capital flows to Sub-Saharan Africa increased from 3.9percent to 5.3 percent of GDP last year, while net foreign direct investment also grew by 16percent.