West Africa

An emerging market

West Africa

An emerging market

An amalgam of countries in continuous economic growth that represents an attractive new front for investment.

The West African region is made up of 15 countries, whose members are part of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the WAEMU (West Africa Economic and Monetary Union).

Area in km2
+ 1000000


Surface: 3.506.126 km2
Population: 120 million inhabitants.

The West African Economic and Monetary Union was established to promote economic integration between countries that share the CFA Franc (with a fixed exchange rate against the euro).

The objective as to create a harmonized and integrated economic space that ensures total freedom of movement to people, capital and goods.

The members of the ECOWAS are the following:


Surface: 5.114.144 km2
Population: 368 million inhabitants.

The Economic Community of West African States is a regional group of fifteen West African countries. Founded on May 28th 1975 in the Lagos Treaty, its mission is to promote the regional economic integration. 

The objective is to promote the cooperation in the region so to create a West African economic and monetary union (towards the ECO).

ECOWAS is made up of the 8 UEMOA countries and 7 others:



Surface: 30.330.000 km2
Population: 1.200 million inhabitants.

With a territorial expansion of 30, 330, 00km2, of which 622, 000 km2 is represented by the islands, Africa is the second largest continent. 

The AFCTA began in 2015 but did not materialize until January 2021.  The project aims to establish a free trade zone throughout the continent. Out of the 55 countries involved, only Eritrea has not signed the agreement. This free trade zone opens therefore a market of more than 1.2 billion people, creating business opportunities and jobs throughout Africa, while reducing the cost of certain goods. 

Of its 55 members, 41 have already submitted deadlines to reduce custom duties. Paartici pants are required to withdraw 90% of their tariff lines over a period of five years, for the most advanced economies, or 10 years for developing countries. The elimination of 7% remaining taxes will be subject to a longer timetable, while the remaining 3% can be maintained.


Beyond the numbers, West Africa is a region composed of various countries, with a set of diverse economic, political and cultural situation each. In order to be successful in your business  in West Africa, is it important to have a counterpart who knows the country well and can help you overcome the obstacles. 

Do you want more specific information about any of these countries? Do not hesitate to contact us.