Most West African countries are striving to achieve lower or upper middle-income status1 within the next 15 years. This goal is enshrined in the current development plans and economic policies of Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Togo, for instance. Nigeria even plans to join the world’s top 20 economies by 2020. Yet, for two-thirds of West African countries, middle-income status remains an elusive goal: annual GDP per capita remains below US$ 1 045 in all of Benin, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone and Togo.

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