African has recorded the largest growth of wealth in the west with Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Nigeria holding top positions. Between 2007 and 2017 figures indicate that wealth grew by 13%.
The report presented by Oxfam noted that out of the 10 fastest growing economies six are in West Africa. The six mentioned are Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana Burkina Faso, and Guinea. With Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana listed among the 10 fastest growing economies in the world.
Noted by Oxfam is the fact that the region has seen impressive growth in the economy in the past two decades, this growth has been paired with a significant reduction in the level of poverty. The report added that despite the positive influence of economic growth the benefits have gone to a small number as inequality levels rise in the region. Currently, 1% of the wealthiest Africans in the west own more than everyone else in the region combined.
Forbes annual billionaire list reported that three of the continent’s billionaires are all located in West Africa in Nigeria. With Côte d’Ivoire recording a 43 % rise in wealth, Ghana a 39% rise and Nigeria 18 % rise.
The report also commented “Five of Nigeria’s wealthiest people, including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, have a combined wealth of $29.9bn – more than the country’s entire national budget for 2017,” adding “Nigeria’s high net worth population is predicted to rise by a compound annual rate of 16.3% between 2019 and 2023. It is Africa’s biggest economy and its most populous country, but over 50% of its citizens live on less than $1.90 a day, the threshold for absolute poverty.”
Five of Nigeria’s wealthiest people, including Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, have a combined wealth of $29.9bn
An estimated $9.6bn is lost in West African countries due to corporate tax incentives for multinational companies. This would be enough money to develop 100 modern, equipped hospitals every year. However, governments in West Africa chose to manage money in ways that do not benefit the poor or tackle social issues.
Following the Oxfam report, the government has been called upon to promote progressive taxations, increase social spending, invest in agriculture and improve land rights for smallholders. In West Africa, Nigeria has the lowest score on social spending, not just in Africa but in the world despite the west African region having some of the highest numbers of people who do not have access to water and education.