While Nigeria, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal remain the largest economies in West Africa in terms of gdp (gross domestic product), this hierarchy is systematically overturned when considering the aggregate of gdp per capita.
Thus, Cape Verde is by far the richest country in the region with a per capita income of $3064 in 2020, despite a 15% drop due to Covid-19, according to updated data just published by the World Bank.
It is followed by Côte d’Ivoire with a GDP per capita of 2326 dollars in 2020, against 2276 dollars a year earlier, a slight increase of 2%. Côte d’Ivoire is thus taking advantage of the resilience of its economy to consolidate this position thanks to a GDP that grew by 2% over the same period, despite the persistence of the health crisis.
At this point, it is crucial to remember that « GDP per capita is an important indicator of economic performance and a useful unit for making cross-country comparisons of average living standards and economic well-being, » as it reflects the share of a country’s overall wealth that is captured by one person each year.
Ghana is in third place with a per capita income that has declined by 2% to $2,206 in 2020.
Nigeria, which is also the leading economy on the African continent, is only in 4th place, its GDP per capita having contracted by 6% to 2097 dollars in 2020.
Ranked 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 14th, Senegal (+3% to $1,472), Benin (+6% to $1,291), Guinea (+13% to $1,194), Togo (+2% to $915), Burkina Faso (+8% to $858) and Niger (+2% to $568), all of which belong to the WAEMU zone, have seen their GDP per capita take a positive turn.
This finding reflects the greater resilience of WAEMU countries compared to other countries in the region.
In contrast, Mali (9th), Guinea-Bissau (12th), Liberia (13th) and Sierra Leone (15th) recorded a decline in their per capita income.
With an estimated population of 2.4 million in 2020, The Gambia ranks 11th with a per capita income of $773, virtually unchanged from the previous year.